Ten-man Scarborough Athletic fought their way to a 2-1 victory against a dangerous Kendal Town on a frozen Saturday afternoon at Queensgate.
Boro were forced to put bodies on the line as they held onto their three-point haul, despite the dismissal of keeper Joe Cracknell.
Having donned their hats for the final few minutes, Bryan Hughes and Paul Foot’s men clung to the tight one-goal lead, given to them by strikes from Ryan Blott and Dean Lisles.
Boro’s only alteration to their side saw Paul Robson return from injury to take the place of Pete Davidson in the middle of midfield.
Robson was involved in much of Boro’s play in the early moments, as the hosts made an impressive start.
That fine beginning soon hit the buffers though when Kendal notched with their first attack.
Blott gave the ball away in the middle of the park and it was worked through to the pacy Jordan Connerton, who rolled under Cracknell.
Boro responded quickly and Blott to make immediate amends with two wicked balls across the Kendal box, though neither were gobbled up.
It was third time lucky for the striker when Gary Bradshaw delivered a fine corner to the near post and Blott nodded home the leveller.
Boro could have forced their noses in front seconds later when a Bradshaw corner fell to the feet of Lisles, but he hooked over with the keeper grounded.
The hosts finished the half in imperious fashion, forcing Kendal to battle for the few scraps that they offered up.
By the half-time oranges Boro could have been well clear, but Danny MacDonald twice saved brilliantly from Blott and Jimmy Ghaichem smashed high and wide from a great position.
Tall striker Alex Peterson had another wonderful opportunity right on the whistle, but having beaten the keeper in the air, he headed just past the post.
There was no let-up when Boro re-emerged for the second period. Bradshaw burst into the box, but lifted over the bar. Then Jimmy Beadle was picked out six yards from goal, but his effort was hacked off the line.
A second for Boro was an inevitability, but the goal come from an unusual source.
Dean Lisles, who was awarded with the Manor Road Stores player of the month award before kick-off, rose highest at the near post and flicked through the flailing arms of MacDonald.
Sadly, Boro were soon brought crashing back down to earth after the ecstasy of their goal.
Keeper Joe Cracknell raced from his goal to intercept a long ball, but defender Ben Middleton arrived first and headed it goalwards. Cracknell managed to get his hand on the problem, but the officials adjudged that it was outside the box and the stopper was given a straight red card.
Youngster Rory Skelton came on to replace him, with striker Blott being sacrificed.
Skelton’s first task was to watch Kieran Walmsley’s whipped free-kick smash into the side-netting.
Boro still had something in their attacking locker, as Beadle twice went close, firstly with a vicious drive and then with a prod past the post.
Bradshaw then latched onto the move of the match, but he failed to wrap his foot around the resulting effort.
Boro soon began to retreat into their own box, pinned back by a Kendal side who stalked in the scent of blood.
After a string of half opportunities, the perfect chance finally fell to Connerton in the very last second.
He ghosted onto a perfect ball from the right, but he somehow hit the clubhouse, when it seemed easier to head into the back of the net.
A huge sigh of relief was exhaled as Boro left the field with another crucial three points under their belt.