Harpenden Town will remain top of South Midlands Division One on Christmas Day after beating Harefield Town 1-0 at Rothamsted Park on Saturday despite finishing with nine men.

The side have spent eight weeks in this position since beating Winslow 3-1 in November after a run of seven straight wins in league and cup.

Since being second from bottom at the end of August, Harpenden have an exceptional record of 16 wins, one draw and one defeat.

Harpenden went ahead after seven minutes when the ball fell to Sam James on the left and he fired into the corner of the net.

Ben Warren and Jake Collins forced Harefield's goalkeeper to produce diving saves by the post and Charley Humberstone's lob went wide.

Tony Golder was sent off for dissent in injury time before James was dismissed for a second booking after throwing the ball away after being grabbed by the Harefield keeper.

Manager Danny Plumb said: "Our discipline was very disappointing and we simply can't afford to lose players like this.

"Having said that we showed fantastic character and great defending against a good side so I am happy but frustrated at the same time."

Harpenden's next match is on Tuesday, December 27 at home in a derby game against Hatfield Town.

Club chairman Roman Motyczak said: "It would be great to see lots of families out in the park to support our league leaders after Christmas as kids under 16 can come in for free."