HEMEL Town made a terrible start to the new year as they suffered a 4-0 home defeat to St Albans City – just two days after securing a point with league leaders Brackley Town.
The Tudors had ended 2011 with encouraging displays against Hitchin Town, Oxford City and Brackley, but it was a bad day at the office for Tommy Widdrington’s men against St Albans.
The home side had their sights set on three points against their Hertfordshire rivals, but were left stunned by an impressive display from the visitors.
The performance came as a stark contrast to the one that earned the Tudors a point against high-flying Brackley on Saturday.
In their last game of the year, Hemel looked intent on taking something from the game and opened the scoring through Josh Scowen, before Brackley’s Jefferson Louis headed home to ensure the game ended all square.
The first half produced few chances, but Hemel took full advantage when an opportunity came their way.
The lively Lewis Toomey combined well with Scowen, and the former dug out a superb cross for the latter to volley home at the far post.
Knowing that a point would take them top of the table, however, Brackley came out all guns blazing after the interval and soon found themselves back on level terms.
Carl Palmer and Owen Story exchanged passes before Story delivered a cross that Louis headed in.
There were chances for both teams to bag a winner as the game drew to a close, but with no further goals the points were shared.
Undoubtedly buoyed after holding the league leaders, the Vauxhall Road faithful were confident of securing a win against St Albans – but the match proved to be a new year horror show for the Tudors.
The outcome could, though, have been so different had Toomey found the net when put through on goal in the first minute.
Alieu Jallow sent Toomey clear, but Saints keeper Nick Jupp did well to thwart the Hemel striker with his legs.
And from then on, the visitors took control.
Sakho Bakare opened the scoring with an early goal as he fired home from the edge of the area and, despite the threat of a Hemel fightback, City doubled their advantage after 17 minutes.
The Tudors failed to clear their lines from a corner, and Dewayne Clarke slotted home to give St Albans a two-goal lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Hemel as Toomey was stretchered off before half-time following a collision with Jupp, and St Albans had a number of good chances to extend their lead as the half progressed.
Hemel searched for a response after the interval, but goals from Micah Hyde and Aaron Lansiquot. wrapped up the win for St Albans and compounded a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Widdrington’s side.