The Chattanooga Red Wolves hung on to their USL League One playoff hopes by a thread Saturday night.
Playing the final 71 minutes a man up on the Richmond Kickers, Chattanooga survived for a 2-1 victory at David Stanton Field.
Goalkeeper Alex Mangels snagged a pair of line-drive shots late in the second half as the defense bent but did not break to improve to 8-1-4 at home and set up a must-win regular-season finale next weekend.
"I love the goals we had, but we have to start thinking and correcting some of the mistakes we made as well," interim head coach Dave Barrueta said. "Mangels has been there all year for us, and Richard Dixon played unbelievable in his first game back, but we just have to be smarter in certain situations."
The Richmond speedster duo of Mutaya Mwape and Charles Boateng created problems for the defense often and connected in the 64th minute as Boateng drilled a shot across the box into the top right of the net.
However, the damage done by the Red Wolves attack in the first half proved to be enough.
With Ami Pineda drawing a penalty kick with a run into the box where the referee said he was being held, Chattanooga midfielder Ualefi dos Reis stepped up with composure. Ualefi smacked the PK into the back right of the net for the opening score in the 24th minute, soon after Richmond drew a red card.
Then in the 32nd minute Vangjel Zguro passed up an opportunity to shoot from outside the top right of the box and sent a perfect through ball to the streaking Sito Seoane for the finish and a 2-0 lead.
The Red Wolves (10-8-9) got off five shots in the eight-minute span between goals but ultimately were outshot 13-11.
"This game was difficult, but we hung in," Ualefi said. "We are pushing for the playoffs and need one more win. We want to win that next game and then make a run to the championship if everything works out."
After a six-month injury setback, Dixon started at center back and provided key stops along with Pineda and Tony Walls.
While captain Steven Beattie is out for the season and midfielder Conor Doyle is out with an injury as well, Chattanooga looks to make history next weekend.
The Red Wolves must beat Toronto II and have Forward Madison either tie or lose on the road to Lansing Ignite, which wants to secure home-field advantage and the No. 2 playoff spot.
Chattanooga has drawn with Toronto 2-2 on both occasions this season, while Lansing has beat Forward Madison twice.
"Regardless of what Lansing does, we have to be professional for the city, the fans and for each other," Barrueta said. "We need to win that game, and we are plenty motivated to do that."