West sussex premier-division title chasers Bosham had to struggle to get over the line against a very spirited performance from a Cowfold side desperate for points to keep their own league aspirations alive.
Jack Hancock was out with a minor injury but Bosham still had a strong side and looked confident from the start.
Nigel Smith looked dangerous for the Blues down the right, his skill and guile causing the Bosham defence to sweat, but he was guilty at times of being too individualistic on the ball and opportunities came and went.
Twice during the half the Blues were all up claiming penalties - but on both occasions referee Joe Johnson refused to point to the spot, leaving Cowfold frustrated.
Bosham went close to edging ahead when, from a lovely cross from Andy Probee, Adam ‘Puma’ Brett was just wide with a diving header.
Keeper Matt Beck was a relieved man but Bosham kept on pushing forward, trying to find a way past the determined Beck.
Both sides seemed to take their foot off the pedal with the pace of the early stages reduced and defences strong and undaunted at both ends.
The second half saw Cowfold start strongly with Smith and Greg Brabon testing Reds keeper Simon Hasted, but the shot-stopper was more than a match for what came his way to keep the tie goalless.
But on the hour the deadlock was finally broken as Brett took his chance to edge the Robins in front. James Bracher sprinted clear towards the box and fired in a stinging drive which Beck could only fumble directly into the path of Brett, who poked home to spark celebrations among home players and supporters.
The Blues tried to find a way back into it and went close a short time later, only for a brilliant double save from Hasted to deny them. First the Reds keeper stopped a drive from Dan Dalton from around six yards and then, from the rebound, he managed to punch away a firm header from Brabon to keep Bosham noses in front.
The remainder of the game was nervy for Bosham but they did just enough to hold on for a massive three points.
Bosham boss Tony Hancock said: “We didn’t reach the levels of recent weeks in this game but sometimes you need to win ugly, so it’s a huge win for us however you look at it.”
Bosham: Hasted, Dowden, Blanshard, Probee, Evans, Docherty, Bracher, Brett, Wilson, Joe Hancock, Davies. Subs: Ash, Redman, Desai.