Stowmarket Town ended Halstead Town’s unbeaten league record in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division after a hard fought 2-1 victory on Saturday.
The Old Gold and Blacks made a flying start with goals from Steve Holder and Duane Wright giving them a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes.
Halstead’s unbeaten streak was in real jeopardy when Julian Simon-Parson was shown a straight red card for kicking out midway through the second half.
Seconds after the sending off Lewis Cunliffe pulled a goal back for the Humbugs, but Stow managed to hold on to inflict a first league defeat of the season on their opponents.
Elsewhere, Needham Market stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games after drawing 1-1 at home with Dulwich Hamlet.
Dumebi Dumaka put the Hamlet in front on 62 minutes, before Colchester United loanee Jack Curtis equalised seven minutes later to secure a share of the spoils for the Marketmen.
Three first-half goals helped AFC Sudbury get back to winning ways with a 3-1 home triumph over Staines Town.
James Baker, Sam Bantick and Dylan Williams all found the target before half-time to give AFC a commanding 3-0 lead, with Brandon Adams grabbing a consolation for Staines in the second half.
Bury Town are joint-top of Ryman League Division One North after Sam Reed scored in the 83rd minute to seal a 1-0 win against Aveley at Ram Meadow.
Elsewhere in Division One North, Soham Town Rangers let a 1-0 lead slip to lose 3-1 at home to Haringey Borough.
Ryan Sharman put the Greens ahead after just two minutes, but Ross Dedman, David Olufemi and Ralston Gabriel all scored in reply to complete a comeback win for the visitors.
An injury time goal by Dan Brown secured a dramatic 2-1 win for Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division leaders Mildenhall Town against Haverhill Rovers.
Rory Jebb put hosts Haverhill in front after 12 minutes, before Luke Parkinson equalised for the Hall on 76 minutes.
With time running out, Brown scored the winner for Mildenhall six minutes into injury time to preserve their eight point lead at the top of the table.
Elsewhere, Newmarket Town moved up to third after a 2-1 win at Thetford Town, while Hadleigh United are up to 14th following a victory by the same scoreline at Swaffham Town.
Walsham-le-Willows drew 1-1 with Wivenhoe Town, Long Melford climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-1 draw at home to Fakenham Town, and Ely City dropped into the bottom three after losing 4-2 to Ipswich Wanderers.
In the First Division, Framlingham Town tasted their first home league defeat of the season with a 3-2 reverse against Wisbech St Mary.
Haverhill Borough were thrashed 5-1 by leaders Coggeshall Town, while Team Bury and Cornard United recorded 2-0 wins against Whitton United and Leiston Reserves respectively.
Debenham LC continued their good form with a 2-1 win against King’s Lynn Town Reserves, while AFC Sudbury and Needham Market’s reserve sides both tasted defeat.
And finally, Norwich City dropped to fifth in the Sky Bet Championship after a 3-2 defeat at home to Leeds United, while a late goal from Luke Chambers helped Ipswich Town to a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Premier Division: Needham Market 1 Dulwich Town 1, AFC Sudbury 3 Staines Town 1.
Division One North: Bury Town 1 Aveley 0, Soham Town Rangers 1 Haringey Borough 3.
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Premier Division: Ely City 2 Ipswich Wanderers 4, Haverhill Rovers 1 Mildenhall Town 2, Long Melford 1 Fakenham Town 1, Swaffham Town 1 Hadleigh Utd 2, Thetford Town 1 Newmarket Town 2, Walsham le Willows 1 Wivenhoe Town 1.
First Division: Coggeshall Town 5 Haverhill Borough 1, Cornard Utd 2 Leiston Reserves 0, Debenham LC 2 King’ Lynn Town Reserves 1, Framlingham Town 2 Wisbech St Mary 3, Holland FC 5 Needham Market Reserves 1, March Town Utd 2 AFC Sudbury Reserves 0, Stowmarket Town 2 Halstead Town 1, Whitton Utd 0 Team Bury 2.
Tuesday. Alan Turvey Trophy: Bury Town v Needham Market.
ESSEX SENIOR CUP
Tuesday. Round Three: Halstead Town v Heybridge Swifts.