Welton Rovers 0 Cheddar 1
The game may have been a poor one but, in terms of a result, it was the perfect remedy for manager Tim Richens, who is recovering in hospital following an accident in Exeter last Thursday.
The early exchanges were dominated by Cheddar but a poor playing surface made life difficult.
The visitors were dealt a blow after 15 minutes when Billy Manning limped off, replaced by new signing Joe Ellis.
The first real opportunity came five minutes later when Joel Butcher set up Wayne Scorse, whose 18-yard effort went inches wide.
Butcher then had a shot saved by goalkeeper Dan Tamblyn but it took the home side 25 minutes to create their first worthwhile chance. A Danny Griffiths mistake allowed Dan Scriven a run on goal but a superbly-timed clearance from Sam King kept Cheddar on level terms.
The visitors continued to handle the conditions the better but, despite having the greater share of possession, creating opportunities was difficult on a well-worn pitch.
Cheddar's persistent pressure finally brought its rewards after 53 minutes when Jamie Howson had an effort blocked on the edge of the area and the ball fell to Ellis, who turned sharply to send a low shot past Tamblyn.
Within 90 seconds the home side were reduced to ten men when frustration got the better of Billie Cooper, who was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Howson.
The visitors thought they had doubled their lead on the hour when an Adam Davies free-kick was headed home at the far post by Griffiths, but the celebrations were short- lived as the goal was ruled out for offside.
Having played well for two-thirds of the match, Cheddar sat back in the closing stages and better shooting from Welton could have punished them. Fortunately for the visitors, Jack Metcalf, Ryan Gay and Dan Scriven all failed to find the target.
Cheddar had a late chance of their own when Howson and Ellis linked up well to set up an opportunity for substitute Chris Beers but the defender blazed his effort over the bar.
Merv's merit marks: S Talbot 7, D Griffiths 6, A Brandrick 7, A Davies 7, J Underhill 7, S King 8, J Butcher 7, J Green 5, J Howson 6, W SCORSE 8, B Manning (inj), Sub: J Ellis 7.
Referee: Oliver Spender 8.
Entertainment value: 5.
Cheddar, who hosted Hengrove Athletic last night, are at home to third-placed Chard Town on Saturday (3pm).