Hemel Hempstead Town suffered back-to-back defeats for only the second time this season as they were dumped out of the FA Trophy by Hungerford Town.
After cruising to 9-1 and 10-0 victories at the start of the month, Hemel have hit a blip in form which has resulted in a 4-1 defeat in the league against struggling St Neots Town as well as Saturday’s 5-0 humbling by mid-table Hungerford.
Injuries and suspensions have certainly taken their toll on the Tudors, who were further hampered on Saturday when Lewis Toomey and Kyle Connolly failed to show up in time for kick-off after getting lost en route to the match.
That meant Winger Dave Pearce had to fill in at left-back in place of Conolly, with centre-midfielder Jordan Parkes already required to play out of position at right-back.
Despite their less-than-ideal pre-match preparation, Dean Brennan’s men started the game well and would have taken the lead had either Moussa Diarra or Charlie Mpi taken headed chances that fell their way.
From then on, though, Hungerford grew into the game and took the lead against the run of play through Dean Stow.
The score remained 1-0 to the hosts for the remainder of the first half, and things went from bad to worse for Hemel after half-time as Hungerford put their out-of-sorts visitors to the sword.
Mark Draycott bagged a brace, Stefan Brown notched another and Bradley Gray completed the scoring with a delightful free-kick at the death after only being on the pitch for 10 minutes.
Hemel were forced to play the last 20 minutes of the game with only 10 men as Ollie Thorne limped off with a leg injury after Brennan had made all three of his substitutions, in what was a dismal day all round for the Tudors.
Laurie Walker was again excellent in goal for Hemel, and if it were not for his heroics, the Tudors could have been facing an even more emphatic scoreline.
It is back to league action on Saturday for Brennan’s men as Hemel travel to Frome Town for a crucial Calor League Southern Premier Division clash.
The Tudors currently sit second in the table, four points behind table topping Chesham United but with two games in hand on their title rivals.