LANCING Football Club survived half-an-hour with nine men as they held on for a thrilling 3-2 win over Selsey on Saturday.
Lancers had raced into a 3-0 lead midway through the first half but Max Thoms reduced the arrears with a controversial penalty.
Keeper Tony Di Bernardo and Sam O’Regan were both needlessly sent off after the break but, after a second Thoms spot-kick and some nervy moments, the home side held out.
There appeared little sign of the drama to come as Lancing were three up inside the half hour mark.
The opener arrived in only the second minute, when Darren Boswell thumped the bar with a free kick and Graham Martin was on hand to stab home the rebound.
Charlie Walker made it 2-0 with his 26th goal of the season, and 11th for Lancing, on 22 minutes with a dink over Sam Joyce from Adam Hunt’s through ball.
Five minutes later it was 3-0, when Hunt scored after Hayward and Dan Turner combined.
Selsey were far from finished, though, and reduced the arrears through Thoms’ penalty after Grant Philpott’s handball on 36 minutes.
Before the restart, Thoms went to collect the ball but Di Bernardo lashed out and earned a booking that would come back to haunt him.
Omar Buciez twice went close in quick succession before the interval, but Lancers still appeared comfortable at the break.
Boswell saw a free kick pushed away, before Di Bernardo was sent off on 63 minutes when he hauled down Graham Bush for a second booking.
Without a replacement keeper, debutant midfielder Stacey Freeman, son of Whitehawk manager, Darren, took the gloves but failed to keep out Thoms’ second spot-kick of the day.
O’Regan was then dismissed eight minutes later as he received his marching orders for foul and abusive language.
Selsey substitute Luke Killner almost restored parity but Freeman saved well with his legs. Toby Pointing then had an effort pushed away by the stand-in stopper but, despite eight nervy minutes of stoppage time, Lancers held on.
Joint manager Martin Gander said: “Our ill-discipline let us down but the three points are the most important thing.”
LANCING: Di Bernardo; Taylor, O’Regan, Gainsford, Philpott; Hunt, Hayward; Boswell, Turner, Martin; Walker. Subs: Freeman (Walker 64), Paterson (Turner 76), Garnham (Hayward 80), Sadough, Sharman.