Mackey doubles up to fire Hemel past Poole and keep the Tudors flying high

Ben Mackey's trademark celebration
Ben Mackey's trademark celebration

Hemel Hempstead Town hit-man Ben Mackey struck either side of half-time as the Calor League Southern Premier Division leaders won 2-0 at promotion rivals Poole Town to keep their title challenge firmly on track.

Poole went into the game boasting an unbeaten home record this season, but Hemel got the job done in confident style to maintain their six-point lead over second-placed Chesham United.

The first half-chance of the game went to the hosts when Michael Charles almost latched on to a long goal-kick, while Mackey was thwarted by Poole keeper Dan Thomas at the other end.

The Tudors didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring, though, as the breakthrough arrived after 13 minutes. Lewis Toomey saw his lob come back off the bar, and Mackey was well positioned to follow up and apply the finishing touch.

Poole lost Carl Pettefer to an early injury after 19 minutes and he was replaced by Carl Preston as Hemel continued to threaten, especially on the counter-attack.

The Tudors were causing their hosts plenty of problems at the back, but with few clear-cut chances of note, the teams went in at half-time with Hemel still holding the narrow 1-0 advantage.

Poole came out with renewed vigour after the break, with winger Luke Burbidge looking lively and delivering some dangerous crosses.

The hosts were still struggling to test Hemel keeper Laurie Walker, however, and it was the visitors who struck again after 72 minutes to wrap up the win.

A long kick by Walker was flicked on by Ollie Hawkins for Mackey to break through and round Thomas before slotting home.

That effectively ended the game as a contest and Hemel saw out the remaining minutes to secure the win.