Kiama were on track for a heavy loss after 20 minutes of Saturday's road meeting with Milton-Ulladulla.
But after effectively giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 head-start, the Knights patiently worked their way into the contest.
When the dust had settled, Kiama had secured a vital 21-14 victory to keep a firm grip on third spot.
"It was a tough game," Knights veteran Marc Laird said.
"We didn't start off well and were down 14 nil, but we ground it out and held on to the ball for a change and got away with it in the end."
Kiama chipped away at the Dogs' lead, drawing level at 14-all in the second half.
Tom Atkinson put the visitors ahead 15-14 with a field goal before Laird scored a try to seal the deal.
"To still get the two points even though you're not playing well is probably a good thing, but we'd definitely like to do it a bit easier," Laird said.
"We just kept dropping the ball in the first half. You can't give sides that much footy or they're going to make you pay. It's good that we snuck away with it.
"It was an important win because it's opened up a bit of a gap between us and the teams below us. We've got a big game coming up against Warilla next week and we'll see how we go."
The bad news for the Knights is that coach Simon Foster has to find long-term replacements for Atkinson and halfback Jack Alexander.
"They're going overseas for eight weeks and it's going to leave a big hole, but we'll have to keep fronting up and do our best," Laird said.
"Foz has been working on a plan for that. I'm not sure what the plan is, but we'll sort something out and get on with the job."
Albion Park-Oak Flats climbed off the bottom of the ladder with 36-28 comeback win over Port Kembla.
The Eagles trailed 18-16 at half-time before Kurt Holloway and Dean Gray led a revival with two tries apiece.