Lanark United ran up their ninth league win on the trot when they travelled to Fullarton Park, Tollcross, on Saturday to take on Vale of Clyde, writes Tam Anderson.
But, although United were eventually to prevail by three goals to two in this McBookie.com League Two encounter, they found themselves with plenty to do after falling two goals behind midway through the first half.
United’s Hugh Kerr had the ball in the net after only three minutes but was ruled offside.
And Ross Clift then put Vale ahead on 22 minutes when he scored after a left wing cross.
Five minutes later, their lead was doubled when Kevin Fraser beat keeper Gareth Hallford with a tremendous 25-yard free-kick.
But United were then given a boost when Vale left back Dean Scott was ordered off for what the referee deemed a reckless tackle.
And Lanark were awarded apenalty a minute before half-time when Kerr was brought down inside the box.
Lewis Hill duly scored with the resultant spot kick to reduce the leeway.
And things got even better for the Moor Park outfit when United drew level three minutes into the scond half.
Declan Lafferty sent an accurate left wing cross into the path of Ian Watt and he wasted no time in firing the ball into the net.
Both teams tried hard for a winner after this and it was United who struck on 70 minutes when Watt headed in a right wing free-kick off the underside of the bar.
In the expected celebrations that followed, United players ran to their supporters but were astonished when the referee produced a red card and sent off Alan McCrum for his actions in enjoying the moment.
After this shock United comfortably played out time to collect the three points and close the gap on leaders Lesmahagow to one point with United having a game in hand.
Lanark now have 31 points from their 12 league games this season.
But, despite that impressive tally, they are second to a Lesmahagow side who have accumulated 32 points from 13 matches.
A waterlogged pitch put paid to Lesmahagow’s scheduled home league fixture against St Anthony’s last Saturday.
And the same fate befell Lanark and Lesmahagow’s Clydesdale neighbours Forth Wanderers, whose trip to Johnstone Burgh was off.