Todmorden Borough boss John Gilford hailed his gallant nine men who held out for a 2-1 win away to title contenders GSK Ulverston.
Borough, who travelled north for the West Lancashire League contest with 11 players, overcame a 1-0 interval deficit to lead with goals from Dave Patrick and Elliott Gilford.
However, James Hardman was dismissed for a second bookable offence midway through the second period.
Things went from bad to worse with 10 minutes left when Chris Kay, defending near a post as the visitors came under mounting pressure, had the ball pushed onto his arm by ‘keeper Lee McGrath and was red carded.
McGrath, hero of the penalty shoot-out win over Kendal County in the divisional cup a week earlier, made a flying save from the resulting spot kick and Borough clung on for an outstanding success.
“They were camped in our penalty area and peppered us. The defence was fantastic and there was not a man on the pitch who didn’t give everything he had,” said manager Gilford.
In a reference to Borough’s recent problems with red cards he added: “Someone said we had the best nine-a-side team in the league!”
Gilford thought his side had deserved victory for their sheer determination but it also made him reflect on how much more successful the side could be with greater commitment at other times.
Borough opted to travel with 11 men when striker Marco Romaro withdrew due to work reasons, deciding not to further weaken the reserves.
The availability of powerful midfielder James Peavoy, home from university, was a major boost while Mr Adaptable Elliott Gilford partnered Ben Whitham up front.
Tod faced a strong breeze in the first half on an excellent pitch in Cumbria, which had just one spongy corner.
They were under pressure for much of the first half but cracked only once, midway through it, when Ulverston scored from a well-worked short corner.
Borough were satisfied at half time and although the wind mysteriously dropped, the visitors bossed the game for the next 20 minutes.
They drew level through Patrick’s shot from the edge of the area and the buoyant visitors swept in front on 65 minutes when Whitham picked up a good through ball, outpaced the centre half and knocked the ball across the face of goal for Gilford to finish.
Hardman, who had been booked in the first half, was then dismissed for pushing an opponent who had tackled him from behind.
It was backs to the wall from then on. Ulverston hit a post and Borough were reduced to nine men with Kaye’s dismissal following a corner. However, McGrath made a miracle save at the foot of a post from the penalty and the visitors hung on grimly.