THREE players were sent off and one more cited when Old Bar ended Macleay Valley's unbeaten run in Group Three Rugby League at Old Bar.
The Pirates toughed out a 40-36 victory that will help them cement a place in the top five.
Referee Warren Holstein had a busy day. He sent off Macleay halfback Anthony Cowan and interchange player Adam Dixon late in the second half. A third player, Richard Roberts from Macleay has been cited for an off-field incident. Macleay also had three players in the sin bin at various stages.
It was an action packed day at Old Bar.
On the footballing front the Pirates produced their best performance of the year.
They led 24-8 at halftime and 30-8 early in the second half then had to survive a late rally from the Mustangs.
Prop Rumone Jackson revelled in the heavy going for the Pirates and was the best player on the park. He was ably assisted by inter-change prop Dave Windus.
Jackson surged through tackles and gave the Pirates go forward.
Five-eighth Kurt Lewis made some errors early in the game but improved as the match progressed and had a hand in a couple of Old Bar's late tries. Captain-coach Danny Russell led his side around the field and rallied them in the final frantic minutes as the Mustangs mounted a challenge.
Old Bar were particularly effective up the right hand side of the field in the first half. They pushed the ball wide and claimed three early tries, two to Jai Simon and one to centre Tom Alchin.
Lewis only managed one goal and it was 14-0 to the Pirates.
When centre Daniel Morris showed pace to score Old Bar's fourth try the home side had skipped to an 18-0 lead. It was expected the Mustangs would comeback and Jacob Smith and Wayne Simon responded with touchdowns but Ben Witchard burrowed his way over for Old Bar and then converted to give the Pirates a 24-8 advantage at the turnaround.
Crucially Old Bar started the second half the stronger and ran in two early tries. However, then the Mustangs started to string some passes together and suddenly were back in the game at 30-26. Alchin brushed off a tackle to score and give Old Bar some breathing space at 34-26 before Cowan was sent off with 11 minutes remaining.
Lewis laid on a second try for centre Morris and then kicked the conversion to see Old Bar up 40-26.
It appeared that would be enough with both sides down on numbers after Carr and Dixon were dismissed, but the Mustangs had other ideas and ran in two tries to reduce the margin to four points.
The Pirates managed to hold on and grab the vital competition points.