JOHN Carroll fired an 80th minute winner as Chalfont St Peter won their top-of-the-table clash with promotion rivals Tring Athletic.

A meeting of the top two was always going to be a tight and tense affair.

And Tring's visit to league leaders Chalfont St Peter proved to be just that but it was Danny Edwards' Saints who took a giant stride towards promotion with a late winner.

It was left to captain Carroll to fire in the crucial goal that looks to have ensured only an unthinkable collapse would cost them the title.

Tring dropped to third with this defeat and 10 points behind Chalfont with Colney Heath leapfrogging them into second place.

But Heath are still nine points behind a rampant Saints and having played three games more.

Both defences won the battle in the first half at Mill Meadow with neither side willing to hand over the initiative.

But on 80 minutes substitute Ryan Welsh sent in a dangerous free-kick which Charlie Strutton flicked into the path of Carroll who made no mistake from close range.

Tring never threatened to level as Chalfont held on for their third clean sheet in a row and celebrate a massive three points.

SAINTS: Oliver, Cumber, Walsh, Carroll, Okimo, Hicks, Lewis, Guei (Williams 84), Strutton, Hughes, Louth (Welsh 78).

Subs (not used): Stack, Long, Ajayi.

Att: 177.