The red mist descended over Hurn Bridge as Hammers flexed their muscles during the first half and took the lead when former Priory striker Ben Osborne netted after Shaun Brian had rattled the underside of the crossbar.
Presentable chances came and went for both sides before Christchurch player-coach Gareth Barnes and United midfielder Aaron Corby were both sent off after assistant referee Tom Holden had highlighted an off-the-ball incident on 35 minutes.
Dominic Allen’s powerful blast doubled the County Ground outfit’s lead on the stroke of half-time before referee Bruce Waymark incensed the home crowd for playing on when visiting keeper Dan Ackerman collided with Dan Saul in the box after the break.
Hamworthy’s Brian became the third man to see red for lashing out at Chris Speers with 15 minutes to play but Kemp’s nine men comfortably held out in the latter stages.
And while United’s manager was relieved to end an eventful evening on top, Kemp felt the double dismissal in the first half had stifled his side’s play.
“It was the proverbial game of two halves,” said Kemp. “Dan Ackerman has made one good save in the first half but if we had been 4-0 up at half-time nobody could have complained.
“But fair play to Christchurch, they came at us second half and reacted better after the two lads had been sent off. Once Shaun went, we were hanging on a bit but our keeper has made a couple of good saves.
“They might have felt a little aggrieved not to get a point out of it but our first-half dominance should not be forgotten.”
On the red cards, Kemp added: “Gareth (Barnes) has backed into our lad who has reacted with a petulant swing of the foot but I felt yellow cards would have been sufficient for both players.
“Shaun was being pulled back and swung his arm to get the guy off but it has landed square in their lad’s face.
“In today’s game, they probably were red cards but it would have been nice for common sense to have prevailed, particularly with the first two.”
Meanwhile, Christchurch manager Cuffie was more concerned with the penalty calls which went against his side.
“I didn’t see anything to warrant the red cards but I was not the man in the middle,” he said.
“For me, there were some strange decisions. I had a word with the referee afterwards and he was still adamant that our player had fouled their goalkeeper but I just couldn’t see how that was the case.
“I saw our guy get taken out and there was another shout against David Legg for handball which we didn’t get.
“It was not the best refereeing performance I have seen but I must stress our defeat was not down to that.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but I couldn’t fault the application of the guys against a good side, they were superb and our second half display was as well as we have played all season.”
On the Ackerman incident, Kemp said: “It looked a penalty from where I was at the time but Dan was adamant that he pulled away and that their guy has run straight into him.”
- Elsewhere, new goalkeeper Dan Carr enjoyed a dream debut while fellow custodian Kenny Vaughan Jnr played outfield for 90 minutes in Bournemouth Poppies’ 3-1 win at Verwood.
Signed just before the registration deadline, Carr saved a penalty from Potters’ top scorer Jack Lovell to maintain the visitors’ two-goal cushion midway through the second half.
Elliot Ward had netted Poppies’ first from the spot on 10 minutes before Jake Rowley doubled the lead midway through the first half.
Charlie Elysee’s free kick gave Verwood hope but Scott Costello bagged the decisive strike just after the hour.