Two red cards proved decisive when Dronfield Town clashed with Shirebrook Town in a spicy local derby for Toolstation Northern Counties East League, First Division points.
Visitors Shirebrook were leading 1-0 when a melee erupted after a hard challenge just after the half-hour mark, and both Carter Widdowson and Brad Holmes were shown red cards, reducing them to only eight outfield players.
Dronfield duly took advantage and ground out a 2-1 victory that lifted them into ninth in the table, four points above their near-neighbours, who have played two games more.
In front of a crowd of 125, Shirebrook went in front after only 13 minutes when a through ball by Sam Dockwray was neatly converted by Ben Burbanks, who slid the ball under the ‘keeper.
The hosts hit back to equalise three minutes before the break through Christian Savage, and they bagged what proved to be the winner eight minutes into the second period when a shot from distance was palmed into the air by ‘keeper Levi Owen and Callum Mawbey reacted quickest to smash home from close range.
Dronfield dominated the rest of the game, but couldn’t break down the visitors’ stubborn defence.
Shirebrook were left incensed by the sending-offs, and joint manager Alan Widdowson branded the three officials “a total disgrace”. They felt Dronfield should have received more than two yellow cards from the bust-up.