John Gilligan's 50th minute goal was central to Westmeath's minimum margin NHL Division 2A win over Meath at Trim on Saturday.
Westmeath ...... 1-19
Meath .......... 1-18
Michael Ryan's men had to withstand a late Meath rally before securing their third win from as many league outings.
Gilligan's goal - with assistance from Niall Mitchell's long delivery - left it 1-14 to 0-14. Meath responded with three Jack Regan points on the bounce to level matters for the ninth and final time by the 59th minute.
Westmeath reasserted themselves to move five clear by the 63rd minute when Niall Mitchell completed their tally.
A late Meath rally almost salvaged something from the fixture. A Regan free was followed by a foul on Adam Gannon in the third minute of added time.
Regan netted the subsequent penalty to cut the gap to the minimum. There was still time for Nick Fitzgerald's side to salvage their unbeaten league record.
Having registered 1-12, Regan was just wide from a free 45 metres from his own goal. The next attack proved fruitless for Meath as Westmeath held on just as they did in the previous NHL fixture between the teams in 2005.
The scores were tied six times in the opening 30 minutes after Niall O'Brien gave the visitors the lead inside 35 seconds. Playing into the town goal, Meath were never headed for the rest of the half.
Meath closed the half with points from James Toher, Regan (free) a superb effort from sub Alan Douglas to lead by 0-11 to 0-8 at the break.
Westmeath outscored Meath by 0-5 to 0-1 in the opening 10 minutes of the second-half.
Regan's 38th minute free was matched an excellent Derek McNicholas placed ball in the 40th minute.
Mitchell's 40th minute point gave the Lake County side the lead for only the second time, 0-13 to 0-12.
Meath's response was swift. Alan Douglas had one of the goal chances of the game but his effort was off target.
A Regan (free) levelled matters, 0-17 to 1-14. Points from Ciaran Doyle and Niall Mitchell titled the balance Westmeath's way. A Derek McNicholas pointed free from his own 45 helped moved the visitors five points clear by the 63rd minute.
Westmeath looked set for victory, but Meath's late rally made Michael Ryan's men work to maintain their winning ways.
Westmeath - Paddy Carroll; Shane Power, Tommy Doyle, Conor Shaw; Gary Greville, Paul Greville, Derek McNicholas (0-4, 3fs); Robbie Greville (0-1), Eoin Price; John Gilligan (1-0), Killian Doyle (0-2), Alan Devine (0-4, 3fs); Niall O'Brien (0-1), Ciaran Doyle (0-3), Niall Mitchell (0-3). Subs - Cormac Boyle for N O'Brien (22), Aaron Craig (0-1) for Shaw (ht), Darragh Clinton for Doyle (44), Darragh Egerton for Gilligan (68).
Meath - Shane McGann; Chris Lynch, Daragh Kelly, Neil Weir; Keith Keoghan, Damien Healy, Shane Brennan; Anthony Forde, James Toher (0-1); Jack Regan (1-12 1-0 pen, ,0-9fs), James Kelly (0-1), Colm O Mealoid (0-1); Sean Quigley, Adam Gannon (0-1), Paddy Conneely. Subs - Alan Douglas (0-2) for Quigley (25),Cathal McCabe for O Mealois (49), Sean Geraghty for Lynch (50), Neil Heffernan for Conneely (60)
Referee - Colum Cunning (Antrim)