Angus Buhagiar scored in stoppage-time to rescue a point for Naxxar Lions in a 1-1 draw with Floriana and stay two points behind the same Floriana and Tarxien Rainbows and three ahead of Vittoriosa.
Floriana forged ahead early in the game but failed to increase the lead, suffering the equaliser in added time.
Andrew Decesare was missing for Naxxar as he serves a two-match ban. The Greens, on the other hand, lacked Joseph Borg.
Floriana had a perfect start taking the lead after just four minutes thanks to Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa whose rising shot from outside the area when served by Brooke Farrugia gave goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi no chance.
Naxxar went close to equalising on the 12th but Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro’s powerful long-distance shot hit the crossbar with Hanford beaten.
The Greens held the initiative but shots at goal were quite rare and goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi was hardly tested.
Daren Falzon tried his luck with a freekick from the right for Naxxar which was neutralised by Hanford on the 82nd.
One minute in added time, Naxxar notched the equaliser when off a Gilmar corner from the left, Angus Buhagiar headed the ball home past the Floriana goalkeeper.
FLORIANA Daniel Hanford, Andre Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Steve Pisani, Igor Coronado, Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa (85′ John Roland Emeka), Jonathan Xerri, Clyde Borg, Brooke Farrugia (46′ Christian Caruana), Gary Muir, Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Sunday Eboh, Darrell Baldacchino, Luca Casha, Dylan Kokavessis.
Coach: Ian Dawes
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia (69′ Kurt Drago), Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar (82′ Jurgen Debono), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Daren Falzon, Thiago Lopes de Souza, David Alejandro Reano, Terence Scerri, Milan Vignjevic (68′ Andre Rocha da Silva).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, John Debono, Ryan Mercieca, Yaron Sammut.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Peter Abela
Additional Assistant Referees: Clayton Pisani, Sandro Spiteri
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Gilmar, Diogo, C. Borg, Bakare, Muir
Scorers: 4′ Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa (F); 90+1′ Angus Buhgiar (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro