RICHMOND has continued its high-flying run with a 2-1 win at Green Gully, marred by a controversial refereeing decision.
The Eagles' attacking style proved fruitful and the visitors outplayed the Cavaliers for most of the game.
But after striker Jesse Krncevic opened the scoring, Gully earned a penalty, taken by Steven Burton.
The ball appeared to beat keeper Stjepan Gal before flying through the bottom corner of the net.
The referee appeared ready to award the goal, before a consultation with his official led to a goal kick being called; despite video evidence later showing the penalty was clearly a goal.
Richmond capitalized on a rattled Gully with defender Steven Topalovic heading home from a corner before Burton pulled one back late on from an Andy Vargas set piece.
The home side handed recruit striker Brent Fisher a debut, with Mathew Sanders dropping to the bench.
Dean Fak and Josh Groenewald dropped out of the squad with Cameron Drake gaining a spot.
The Eagles starting 11 was unchanged from round 11, with only Tomislav Uskok and Conor Reddan coming into the squad with Peter Sawan dropping out.
In a free-flowing and open encounter, Krncevic's goal was the first real opportunity after six minutes.
After quick left-winger David Scullion easily skipped past Ryan Ollerton, Daniel Visevic mishit his centre.
It fell for Scullion again, whose shot fell at the feet of Krncevic, who in turned hammered the ball into the roof of the net from inside 10 yards.
Soon after, Vargas' long header fell for Gary Wales in the area, but Topalovic was deemed to have brought the striker down.
Burton converted the penalty, but it went unrewarded.
A rattled Gully was punished on 20 minutes.
Former Football Superstar contestant Topalovic met a Visevic in-swinging corner with a powerful header to double the visitors' lead.
The Cavaliers worked their way back into the game in the latter part of the half, with the unlucky Burton squandering two difficult opportunities.
A flat Graham Hockless cross forced Gal into a reflex save, before Burton forced another strong holding save from the shot stopper after a cut back from Jonathan Munoz.
Little was going right for the home side and a looping shot-cum-cross from Scullion early in the second half forced Nikola Roganovic to tip the ball over the bar.
Richmond almost made it three through the impressive Visevic on 57 minutes.
The striker exchanged passes with partner Krncevic, but Roganovic pulled off a fine save in the one-on-one.
The relatively quiet Munoz shot one well over for Gully with Wales bringing life to the Cavaliers through his intensity.
It paid off on 78 minutes when Burton scored a deserved goal to make for a nervous finish.
A Vargas set piece from the left was glanced home by the defender into the far corner of a helpless Gal's net.
Vargas almost had the equalizer five minutes later.
Defender Daniel Jones played the midfielder in on the right, but he skewed his shot just wide from the angle.
It was not to be for the Cavaliers as Richmond sat atop the league ladder after the win, with Cavaliers fans left talking about the unpaid penalty.