High-flying Hemel Hempstead Town FC kept a firm grip on their position at the top of the Calor League Southern Premier Division with a 3-0 victory at Bedford Town on Tuesday night.
Leading scorer Ben Mackey did the damage as he fired home a hat-trick to keep Hemel one point clear of title rivals Chesham United with a game in hand.
Hemel started the game well and came close early on through Dave Pearce, before Mackey broke the deadlock midway through the half with a shot from a tight angle that squeezed under Bedford keeper Daniel Green.
The Tudors continued to create chances before half-time, but Jordan Parkes shot straight at the keeper and Mackey blasted over shortly before the interval.
Hemel had been on top in the first half but were almost punished for some wasteful finishing at the start of the second period as a shot from Bedford’s Lorenzo Ferrari took a wicket deflection before hitting the crossbar.
Both sides knew the second goal would be crucial – and it was Hemel who scored it with 15 minutes left to play courtesy of that man Mackey who gathered the ball and lashed home to give his side breathing space.
That effectively ended the game as a contest and it was just left to Mackey to complete his hat-trick from Tommy Berwick’s cut-back to wrap up the Tudor win.
Next up for Hemel is a trip to Chippenham Town on Saturday.