AFC Hornchurch extended their lead at the top of the Bostik League North table to seven points on Tuesday night after a hard-fought 1-0 win against play-off chasing Maldon & Tiptree.
The final outcome at Bridge Road hides what was a dramatic game.
A fairly even first half was coming to an end when the Jammers` Chris Millar burst forward only to be blocked by Urchins` keeper Simon Bloch.
Bloch was injured in the challenge and suffered concussion.
The home side had no sub keeper on the bench, so midfielder Dave Collis came off the bench to don the gloves to play the second half in goal.
Just past the hour-mark, Maldon defender Joe Claridge pulled back Matthias Fanimo when clear and was shown a straight red card.
The Jammers` prolific striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe struck the woodwork from 25 yards – had that gone in it would have meant he had scored in FIFTEEN consecutive league matches!
But a 70th minute Nathan Cooper effort eventually proved enough for the battling Urchins to take all three points.
Potters Bar Town are fifth but were held to a goalless draw at the Pakex Stadium by lower mid-table AFC Sudbury.
However, the Scholars will probably settle for that, after being forced to play with ten-men for 6 minutes of the first half and the entire second period after George Nicholas was shown a straight red card.
Sixth-placed Barking extended their unbeaten run to eleven league matches but had to fight back from being 3-0 down to Essex rivals Brentwood Town after an hour to earn a point at Mayesbrook Park.
Matt Price after 13 minutes, Matt Hall just before the break and sub Izzy Bademosi on 59 minutes gave Brentwood what looked like a commanding lead.
But the Blues fought back to reduce the deficit 3 minutes later through Hussain Jaffa and then to one through Abs Seymour after 83 minutes.
But Barking`s equaliser didn`t come until 4 minutes into stoppage time.
Neighbours Mildenhall Town and Bury Town cancelled each other out at Recreation Way as the game fizzled out into a 0-0 draw.
The game between Heybridge Swifts and Haringey Borough at Scraley Road was abandoned following a red card to Haringey`s Ralston Gabriel which prompted some unsavoury scenes.