TILBURG, December 21 (Eredivisie) - A solitary goal from Danny Landzaat gave Willem II victory over Groningen tonight.
The Dutch international midfielder struck three minutes after half-time to inflict Groningen's 10th defeat in 17 matches this season.
His goal also ensured Willem - after their seventh win of the season - moved ahead of Utrecht in the table.
In a game lacking in quality, Landzaat's strike was the one real moment of brilliance.
Danny Mathijssen provided the pass to Landzaat, although the midfielder still had a lot to do when he collected the ball just outside the penalty area.
However, he spotted Roy Beukenkamp just a few yards off his line and surprised the Groningen goalkeeper with a delicate lob which dropped over his head and into the net.
Willem II had started the better side but although they had the possession they lacked the necessary guile to break down the visitors.
Jattoo Ceesay was the one player creating anything of note but he found little support from his team-mates and as the game progressed Groningen found themselves enjoying more possession.
Indeed, they had the best chance of the first half when Glen Salmon drilled a shot into the side-netting after escaping a linesman's flag after initially receiving the ball in an apparently offside position.
Willem II re-exerted their influence after the break and Landzaat's goal gave them the confidence to do that from a more secure platform, even when Chris Janssens departed with a muscle injury to be replaced by Raymond Victoria.
Groningen's best chance of the second half fell to Martin Drent but his shot from 10 yards was saved by keeper Geert De Vileger.