NEWRY City edged out near neighbours Warrenpoint Town at a rain-soaked Showgrounds on Sunday courtesy of a first half strike from James Hand while the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the dying stages of the match.
A bumper crowd of 1500 turned out for the match between the two rivals in what was the first competitive meeting between the pair.
It was City who had the first chance of the match on 10 minutes when the ball fell to Darren Freeman 25 yards out and the midfielder fizzed in a low drive with his right foot that was held at the second attempt by Warrenpoint keeper Jonathan Parr.
In a game where both sides were cancelling each other out, the visitors had their first sight of goal 22 minutes in but Shaun Parr's half volley was well over the crossbar from 16 yards. But three minutes later, Barry Gray's men nearly broke the deadlock.
After he had been upended 30 yards out, striker Keith Johnston curled the resultant free-kick towards the top corner of the net only for Newry stopper Gareth Buchanan to claw it away from danger.
However, it was Pat McGibbon's home side who took the lead two minutes after the half hour.
The Warrenpoint defence failed to clear the ball properly and it came to James Hand 25 yards out and he crashed it home through a crowd of players past an unsighted Parr to make it 1-0.
City should have doubled their advantage two minutes before the break when Daniel Hughes beat the Warrenpoint offside trap to break free down the right hand side before squaring to Timmy Grant in the edge of the six-yard box but he somehow managed to scoop it over the bar when he should have scored.
While the Point did have the better of the chances in the second period, they invariably ran out of idea when they got to the final third.
However, they did go close on 78 minutes when substitute Gregory Curtis, returning from injury, whipped in a dangerous free-kick from 22 yards that whistled just past the left hand post.
Warrenpoint were reduced to 10 men with ten minutes to go when Franco Trainor and goalscorer Hand tussled in the corner.
Trainor appeared to kick out while the players were on the ground and he received his marching orders while Hand got off with just a booking.
It didn't really affect the course of the game at that late stage as City held on to make it four wins out of four to stay at the top of the table having kept clean sheets in their last three games.
Newry City: Buchanan, King, Curran, Copeland, Donegan, Freeman, Tierney, Hand, D. Hughes, Havern, Grant subs M. Hughes (not used), S. Hughes (replaced Havern), Carville (replaced Freeman), Toal (not used), Hanaphy (replaced D. Hughes)
Warrenpoint Town: J. Parr, Trainor, O'Connor, Boyle, Cowan, Mooney, McParland, S. Parr, Kinney, Johnston, McMullan subs Anderson (not used), Fegan (not used), Curtis (replaced McParland), McAleenan (replaced Johnston), McKeown (not used)