Boston Rugby Club rode their luck to earn at draw at Ashfield - finally losing their 100 per cent league record.
After winning their first 13 matches of the campaign, Willem Jonker’s men met their match in the Midlands 4 East (North).
But it could have been worse as the hosts missed three penalties in the last 10 minutes.
A total of two red and four yellow cards issued by the referee depicts an encounter which was wholehearted and full of commitment by both teams, writes John Fletcher.
Boston knew that they would be tested both physically and mentally by a side who would be up for revenge after their earlier defeat in the season, but the draw keeps them a point clear at the top.
Ashfield - with the advantage of the wind and their large pack - started strongly in the scrum and loose, putting the away side on the back foot.
After seven minutes the home side were reduced to 14 men when the referee red carded the Ashfield second row for stamping.
After 15 minutes Boston were disrupted when prop Jo Deamer was forced to retire, replaced by Richard Lloyd.
The first half was a stop-start affair with Ashfield reduced to 13 due to a yellow card on 27 minutes, and Alan Phoenix following him to the sin bin before the hosts took a 3-0 lead from a penalty.
But Boston went in 7-3 ahead as Jake Brooks burst through to score.
Tom Brooks then kicked the conversion.
After 54 minutes Boston lost Marc Miles to a red card offence, before Tom Brooks kicked a penalty to put Boston 10-3 up.
However, the closing 10 minutes tested the nerve of Boston’s most ardent supporters.
After each team received another yellow card, Ashfield levelled, before missing those three crucial kicks.
On Saturday Boston travel to play Nottingham Boots Corsairs in a re-arranged fixture (KO 2.15pm).
BOSTON: Kemp, Phoenix, Deamer, Enderby, Lane, K. Doig, Miles, Stokes, Baldwin, Jonker, T. Brooks, J. Brooks, Smith, Za Chapman, Cumber; Replacements: Lloyd, D. Loveley, Cross, Hodgson.