A stunning Danny Ellis free-kick saw Eastbourne Town claim the local bragging rights over neighbours Hailsham Town on Tuesday night.
John Lambert’s side have not completed 90 minutes of football in over a month and the title challengers were pushed all the way by Ian Stevens’ stubborn Stringers.
The fact that it took a moment of brilliance - a dipping 35-yard piledriver that nestled in the bottom corner of the Hailsham goal - to separate two sides of contrasting league positions, is testament to how far the Stringers have come since Stevens took charge in November.
The chasm between these two sides was huge when Town totally outplayed them back in August, but Lambert admitted his relief at simply getting the three points this time round.
“The points were all important,” he said “We could have finished it off earlier but our hearts were in our mouths at the end. Every time they went forward you thought they might score but we got the job done.
“He (Ian Stevens) has got his side working their socks off, he’s got them well drilled and it was a tough game.”
Town new a win could see them climb as high as third in Sussex Division One, but with a rampant Littlehampton Town winning 7-1 at East Preston they had to settle for fourth. Hailsham, meanwhile, dropped to 17th in Sussex Division One.
Town team: Nessling, Turner, Radley, Duncan (Upton), Hollobone, Ellis, Darby, Henson, Clarke (Maclean), Smith (Baitup)
Hailsham team: Betts, Williams (Farrant), Snashall, Lee, Norman, S Divall (Findon), J Divall, Salvidge, Stracey (Greenall), Leach, Johnson