TOTTON & Eling opened a four-point gap between themselves and the Sydenhams Premier bottom three with an extraordinary 2-1 victory at Horndean last night.
Having taken an early lead with a 25-yard Ben Thompson free kick, the Millers had Byron Gharibian red- carded for a high boot with just 17 minutes gone.
Horndean piled on the pressure and deservedly levelled before half-time, but Dougie Rowe, pictured above, won it for ten-man T&E after exploiting a bad touch by the keeper.
With bottom-of-the-table Downton losing 4-0 at Hamworthy United (Billy Walker, Alex Martin, Shaun Brian, Aaron Corby) and Romsey beaten by the same scoreline at AFC Porchester (Jack Salter- Vaile 2, Jake Thomson, Danny Thompson), it was the perfect night for the Millers.
“It was the hardest three points we could possibly have got, playing with ten men for 73 minutes,” said co-boss Stuart Hussey. “It’s our best win of the season.”
Mike McEnery helped himself to a hat-trick as Alresford Town held strong at the top with a 3-0 home win over Whitchurch United, taking them to 102 league goals.
Second-placed Sholing sneaked a slender win at Verwood Town thanks to Barry Mason’s sixth- minute strike, but manager Dave Diaper described it as “a little bit of a false 1-0.”
“It could have been more,” he said. “Lee Wort struck the bar with a penalty given for a foul on Alex Baldacchino and Barry Mason’s also hit the woodwork from 25 yards.”
Winchester City’s trip to champions Blackfield & Langley ended 0-0, while Fareham succumbed to three second-half goals at Lymington Town.
* FA TROPHY finalists Gosport Borough will travel to Wembley on Sunday on the back of a defeat.
Alex Pike’s men lost 2-0 at Sutton United (Gavin McCallum, Jamie Taylor) last night – their first loss in five Skrill Conference South games.