Midland boxing champion Matt Martin proved he could both float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, scoring the winner on his debut as Khalsa overcame league leaders Heanor Town.
Two of the league’s heavyweights, Heanor and Khalsa traded blows in a compelling and gripping game.
Khalsa were like a different team to the one that meekly surrendered at Shirebrook just seven days earlier, fighting for every ball and showing creativity in no small measure.
Heanor, for their part, looked every inch the title contenders, roared on by a brilliantly vociferous crowd.
Heanor signalled their intent as early as three minutes, Stephen Hart – making his home debut for Town – collecting the ball on the edge of the box from a deep Greg Marriott free and engineering space to turn and shoot directly at James Pemberton.
Brad Lawley forced Pemberton’s opposite number Ben Townsend into action five minutes later, his shot reasonably comfortably collected.
Khalsa should have had a penalty on 17 minutes, the referee turning a blind eye as a Lawley shot was blocked with an arm in a crowded penalty area, despite having a perfect view of the incident.
Mike Perks hit the post for Khalsa on 23 minutes, his shot from a Jackson free kick striking the frame of the goal and bouncing to safety and nine minutes later a good save by Townsend from Craig Bannister was immediately followed by a break down the other end which saw Kieran Debrouwer zig-zag into the area and fire into the side netting as the angle just became too much for him.
With both sides trading such heavy blows, it was no surprise when the deadlock was broken, Bannister’s shot on 37 minutes deflecting and ending up at the feet of Tes Robinson, who was still forward from a corner, and the centre half made no mistake in scoring his eighth of the season against a backdrop of offside appeals.
Khalsa had a couple of further opportunities before the break, Martin having an effort deflected wide on 39 minutes and a minute later Perks heading over from a Bannister cross.
The interval did nothing to calm the intensity and pace of the game, with both sides putting their opponents on the ropes for various stages.
A superb break by Chris Betney on 65 minutes saw ended with a penetrating cross into a crowded area which needed the last minute intervention of Rogers to keep it from reaching well placed recipients.
Then Scott Wittingham fired a shot over from a good position on 27 minutes. But then it was time for Martin to put Heanor on the canvas, his diving header at the far post from a pinpoint cross by Bannister on 76 minutes putting Khalsa into a two-goal lead.
Of course, Heanor dragged themselves from the mat and set about trying to force a comeback.
Just over a minute later it needed Franco’s goal line clearance and a wayward headed by Daniel White to avoid the arrears being halved as the home side threw the kitchen sink at Khalsa.
On 42 minutes, substitute Jamie Clarke turned and shot in the six yard box to make it 1-2 and set up a nervous finale which Khalsa successfully navigated to take a valuable three points.
Sporting Khalsa: James Pemberton; Carlo Franco, Tim Jackson, Joe Rogers (captain), Tes Robinson; Brad Lawley, Dave Meese, Mike Perks, Marvin Nisbett, Matt Martin (Nicky Campbell); Craig Bannister.