Radnor Valley came out on top in Friday evening’s MMP with Norman Lloyd Central Wales League (South) summit meeting after defeating local rivals Hay St Mary’s 1-0 under the Forest Road floodlights.

The victory sent the Goats two points clear of their title foes and with a game in hand on the Saints.

A crowd of nearly 300 spectators witnessed this top of the table encounter that also saw three red cards brandished by referee Aled Jones.

A minute’s silence was observed prior to kick-off for the recent passing of John Islwyn (Ishy Jones) by players, officials, spectators and family members present.

The hosts went on the front foot from kick-off as they looked to build on their impressive victory over Tregaron Turfs in front of the S4C cameras six days earlier.

Hay St Mary’s skipper Liam Mcanally was unable to keep his header under the crossbar after Jack Biggs had flicked on Jack Cripps’ third minute long throw into the penalty area.

Saints defender Jake Atkinson headed over Will Fowden’s goal from a 10th minute corner before the only goal of the evening arrived three minutes later.

Former Presteigne St Andrews striker Callum Matthews was on hand at the far post to volley home a pinpoint cross from out on the left wing with a nicely cushioned finish.

The Saints looked to respond immediately as Biggs saw his 15th minute effort from the edge of the penalty area blocked but they were finding it difficult to pierce through the Radnor Valley defence. Rob Snedden’s deep free-kick to the far post on the half-hour mark caused some consternation amongst the visitors before the ball was eventually scrambled away to safety.

Cripps no doubt thought he was poised to equalise sin minutes later, when he about to test Fowden’s reflexes from close range, but was denied by a well-timed challenge by the impressive Matt Croose.

The match’s next major incident arrived in the 58th minute when Hay St Mary’s midfielder Callum Maddy was dismissed for his challenge on Josh Traylor-Hall and the Goats’ defender was also shown a red card by Aled Jones for his reaction to the tackle.

Home supporters would have been asking themselves if the extra space on the pitch, created by the two dismissals, would enable to Saints to finally find a way past a well-organised defence.

Snedden tried his luck with a low 25-yard free-kick that was gathered by Fowden at the second attempt in the 64th minute, before Liam Mcanally could only direct his first-time effort straight at Fowden two minutes later from Atkinson’s inviting cross from out on the right touchline.

Biggs headed over the crossbar from a 78th minute corner before the third red card of the evening was brandished three minutes later.

Saints midfielder Snedden received a second yellow card for his challenge on Ieuan Price and that seemed to signal the end of the host’s challenge.

The early goal was enough for the Goats to secure local bragging rights and send them back to the head of the table as the title race heads into its closing stages.