Hemel Hempstead Town continued their charge towards the Calor League Southern Premier Division title with a 3-1 win at Chesham on New Year’s Day to open up an eight-point lead at the top.
The Tudors went into the game on the back of seven consecutive wins, and they extended the hot streak with goals from Jordan Parkes, Lewis Toomey and leading scorer Ben Mackey.
There was considerable doubt as to whether the match would go ahead following an overnight downpour, but hard work by the Chesham ground staff ensured that the pitch was deemed playable by the match referee.
Rain and wind were still in force when the game got under way, and it was Hemel who made the brighter start of the two teams.
The weather was making it hard for either side to find any real fluency, but the Tudors took a deserved lead after 26 minutes when skipper Parkes opened the scoring.
Chesham’s Daniel Braithwaite was at fault for the goal as he presented the ball straight to Parkes who accepted the gift to drive forward and slam home from the right.
The goal was tarnished somewhat, though, by a flare being thrown onto the pitch from the Hemel end during the celebrations – an act which the club is actively trying to put an end to.
The Tudors knew a win against one of their two main title rivals would send out a real warning sign to the rest of the division, and they duly notched their second goal just three minutes later.
The ball was swung in from the right and knocked back across goal, where hot-shot Toomey was on hand to nod home to complete the devastating team move.
Hemel went in at half-time with a 2-0 lead but their advantage was soon halved when former Tudor Drew Roberts smashed home a cracker from 20 yards.
Buoyed by the goal, Chesham enjoyed a good five-minute spell but Hemel soon regained control of the contest and it came as no surprise when they regained their two-goal cushion.
John Kyriacou made a clumsy challenge on Charlie Mpi in the area following a superb run by the Hemel winger, and Mackey stepped up to slam home and continue his fine goalscoring form.
From then on there was only going to be one winner, and the Tudors held on comfortably to start 2014 in impressive style.