Hemel Town went down 5-3 at home to Chelmsford City in a roller-coaster Bank Holiday Monday clash with numerous momentum swings.
After a superb backs-against-the wall point on Saturday against much-fancied Welling United, the Tudors were left to rue some pretty average defending on Bank Holiday Monday in front of more than 600 fans.
The reverse means the Tudors’ winless run has now been extended to five games and they have slipped to 14th place in the National League South table.
Hemel made a strong start to the season, going unbeaten in their first four games, but have struggled of late.
They now face a tricky September with some tough fixtures to negotiate. The Tudors visit former League Two and National League side Torquay United this Saturday, before taking on big-spending Billericay Town the following weekend and a rising Oxford City side at the end of the month.
The writing was perhaps on the wall as early as the ninth minute on Monday when a ball into the box wasn’t dealt with by the Tudors’ defence and Tom Wraight took full advantage by firing home past Hemel keeper Laurie Walker to give City the lead.
It wasn’t too long before the home side were level, however, when a nice move down the right ended with Joe Howe pulling the ball back to an unmarked Jordan Parkes who buried it first time, after some equally poor defending by Chelmsford.
Hemel striker Charlie Sheringham met a Parkes free-kick after 15 minutes but couldn’t direct his header on target and it flew wide.
That was about it for Hemel in the first period as City pushed forward in numbers.
Walker saved well twice from Wraight, before Rob Swaine should have done better with a header that went wide.
There were a couple of moments for the Tudors before the break but nothing that troubled Nathan McDonald in the visitors’ goal.
The second-half saw Hemel step up through the gears and Herschel Sanchez Watt had a shot saved before they went in front on 50 minutes via Billy Clifford.
Clifford fired home from the edge of the box after City failed to clear their lines.
After this the Tudors had chances to add to their tally when first Sheringham and then Parkes had efforts saved by McDonald and it was somewhat against the run of play when City levelled. They earned a corner just after the hour and it was met by an unmarked Anthony Church, who headed home with Hemel’s defence watching.
Two minutes’ later City went in front after a free-kick was only half-cleared and centre half Swaine had time and space to pick his spot.
City almost put the game to bed moments later when Tom Hamblin miscued a pass to Scott Fenwick who raced clear only to be thwarted by an excellent save by Walker.
The hosts rallied and deservedly made it 3-3 when skipper Parkes got his second of the match, curling a free-kick round the wall and in via the post.
With both sides defending poorly, it really was anyone’s game and it was more indecision in the Tudors’ back-line five minutes left that ended up costing them the points. Rhys Murphy pounced on an error by a defender, who allowed the ball to bounce and Murphy took full advantage, drilling the ball past Walker to give his side the lead again at 4-3.
And on 89 minutes, with Hemel pushing forward, Howe was outpaced on the left and the ball was pulled back to Christopher Whelpdale who had the easy job of slotting it home to make it 5-3.
The scoreline was a bit harsh on Hemel, but they only have themselves to blame due to the poor defending. They missed Ismail Yakubu, who was out after picking up an injury against Welling.
Fellow centre-backs Lloyd Doyley and Darren Ward are also out with injuries.
Hemel: Walker, Howe, Connolly, Parkes (captain), Hamblin, Kaloczi, Sheringham (Cawley), Clifford (Osborn), Oliyide, Sanchez Watt, Prestidge. Subs not used: McCall, Roberts, Paulin.