Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Oxford City 0
Hemel’s chances of beating the drop were giving a huge boost as a Ross Lafayette double saw off Oxford City at Vauxhall Road.
The home side knew before the game that only a win would be good enough to keep alive their chances of survival going into the final day trip to Bashley.
At every opportunity, Hemel looked to go for goal and almost took an early lead after Marquin Smith’s shot skidded off the wet surface, causing problems for City keeper James Mooney as he fumbled away from goal.
Chances for an opening goal continued to fall to the Tudors, with Danny May trying his luck with two long range efforts which narrowly missed the target.
Oxford threatened on a few occasions in the half and Felipe Barcelos raced clear, only to fire straight at Tudors keeper Mike McEntegart.
Mark Bell forced McEntegart into a low smart save minutes later, however it would be the home side who bagged the crucial opener.
Dave Pearce cut in from the left and fired in an effort which was too hot for Mooney to hold, and Lafayette was on hand to follow up and lash the ball home.
The Tudors had an opportunity to double their advantage early in the second half as Lafayette played through Pearce, however Mooney stood tall and denied the tricky winger.
Oxford were restricted to only a few chances in the second half – mainly down to the superb effort shown by the home side.
Steve Basham came close for the visitors with a deflected effort which just crept wide of McEntegart’s goal.
The next goal in the encounter was vital, as the Tudors knew that an Oxford equaliser would send them down.
However, it was the hosts who struck the priceless second goal of the game, 14 minutes from time.
Pearce’s corner was cleared easily, but he retrieved the ball and whipped it back in to Lafayette, who found time and struck a low drive past Mooney into the net.
Lafayette’s double capped a fine all-round performance for the Tudors, who go into Saturday’s clash looking for a third win in a row and the ultimate prize of survival in the Southern Premier League.