STRETTON Eagles overcame third-placed Hampton with a dogged display in a feisty Midland Combination Division One clash.
The referee was kept busy with seven cautions as the match struggled to provide the normal entertainment found at Shobnall Sports on a Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Phil Wheildon, Scott Walkman and Jordan Dent saw Simon Watson’s men to a crucial victory which keeps them in the hunt for honours.
The Eagles boss said: “I’m delighted with the victory. There were some very tired players in the dressing room afterwards, demonstrating just what they had put into this critical game.
“We had several outstanding performances today. Dave Hilton came into the side and again did us proud. His persona helps, especially in this sort of game where players need to stand up and be counted.
“Scott Walkman had a wonderful game in a new formation and took the brunt of the tough tackles, but ran his opponents into the ground, chipping in with one of the goals. He should be very proud.”
Wheildon gave Eagles the lead on five minutes after finishing a Liversage through ball before Walkman rose highest on 22 minutes to head home a free kick.
Stretton had further chances before the contest degenerated into a battle, with Hampton pulling one back four minutes from the break through Steve Joynes.
The expected onslaught from Hampton was stopped in its tracks as Whieldon burst through the centre of midfield, leaving three players in his wake and setting up Dent to finish.
STRETTON: Hilton, Mander, Freeman, Gaynor, Brown, Ellerton, Liversage, Dent, Whieldon, Harris, Walkman. Subs Barker, Watson, Upton, Swinfield.