Hemel Town made it three straight wins in the Vanarama League South with victory over high-flying Hampton & Richmond on Boxing Day.
Jake Robinson struck the only goal of the game to send the majority of a 539-strong crowd at Vauxhall Road home happy.
However just as welcome was a clean sheet, the result of some resilient defending against a strong visiting attack.
The two teams now meet again in the reverse fixture on New Year’s Day.
It was a cagey opening to the Boxing Day clash as both teams tested each other out. Perhaps the first real opening came when Brendan Kiernan’s corner surely only needed a touch to put Hampton ahead, but it went straight through.
Hemel thought they had a decent shout for a penalty as the game headed towards half time. A shot was blocked on the visitors’ goalline, and Tudors players were convinced it was by a hand, but the referee was having none of it.
Just before the interval Christian Jolley raced through on the Hemel goal. His shot beat keeper Jamie Butler, but it smashed against the post and rolled back out in Butler’s direction and he was able to protect it from onrushing forwards.
Hampton continued to be dangerous in the second half, the defence having to be alert and clear Nicke Kabamba’s header off the goalline.
Minutes later the Tudors woodwork was rattled again, this time the crossbar, as Kiernan’s curling shot went close to breaking the deadlock.
The stalemate was finally ended on 65 minutes but it was at the other end. In a fairly rare foray into the Hampton danger area Jordan Parkes put the ball across and Robinson was there to fire home from six yards out.
The Beavers stepped up their efforts to find an equaliser. However the Hemel defence stood firm and a Kiernan shot in injury time was the closest they came.
So Hemel have found a degree of form and rediscovered the winning habit as the year closes. They sit 12th and a win on New Year’s Day would see them edge closer to the play-off places.