Kallum Higginbotham was the match-winner from the penalty spot following a moment of Max Kucheriavyi magic as Kelty Hearts claimed a 1-0 Fife derby win over Cowdenbeath.
St Johnstone starlet Kucheriavyi entered the fray as second-half substitute, just 24 hours after joining the Maroon Machine on loan.
And it was his dazzling solo run into the box which finally breached a stubborn Blue Brazil resistance, with the Ukrainian midfielder fouled by Jamie Todd.
Higginbotham made no mistake from 12 yards as Kelty opened up a nine-point lead at the summit of League 2, with a game in hand.
Cowden eye great escape
Kelty found themselves in the unusual position of seeking to bounce back from a league defeat.
Kevin Thomson’s title-chasers succumbed 1-0 to promotion rivals Forfar on Saturday — just the third time they had lost in the league.
Meanwhile, green shoots of recovery have emerged at Cowdenbeath.
The Blue Brazil had racked up three wins in four outings prior to their short trip to Kelty, moving them to within six points of ninth-placed Elgin City.
Prior to that run, their record read one victory from 19 games. Progress under Mo Ross.
Guaranteed SPFL safety, while still an almighty task, is no longer a pipe-dream.
With this derby showdown rearranged from January 2, Kelty appeared keen to make up for lost time when Nathan Austin shot inches wide after just four minutes.
However, it was Cowden — fielding a compact 5-3-2 and seeking to spring on the break — who almost claimed a stunning lead.
A fine deep delivery by former Hearts full-back Fraser Mullen found Alex Ferguson ghosting in at the back post. But the on-loan St Johnstone midfielder could only lash his first-time effort over the bar.
Cowden keeper Cammy Gill dirtied his gloves for the first time mid-way through the first half, with the ex-Dunfermline youngster parrying a ferocious Ross Philp drive to safety.
Beginning to exert serious pressure, Kelty threatened again when Joe Cardle found Austin with a pin-point corner — only for Gill to parry the resulting header to safety.
Illustrating their new-found stoic streak, Cowden held firm to the break. Skipper Craig Barr, in particular, was immense.
Towering Cowdenbeath forward David Carty somehow headed wide from point-blank range as the second half kicked off.
Into the final quarter, Higginbotham was thwarted by Gill following a trademark thunderbolt from distance, while Tam O’Ware headed over the bar.
But Kelty Hearts finally breached the Cowden resistance with 10 minutes remaining.
Kucheriavyi, on for Joe Cardle, surged into the box and, following a fleet-footed stepover, was adjudged to have been felled by Todd.
Referee Steven Kirkland pointed to the spot and Higginbotham slammed home the penalty to secure a precious three points.