Hemel Hempstead Town 5 Kettering Town 2
Hemel Town got back to winning ways on Saturday as a brilliant first half display paved the way for victory against Kettering.
Having lost their previous fixture, Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division leaders Hemel knew they needed a win to stay clear of the chasing pack, and they delivered in impressive fashion.
Goals from Dave Pearce, David King and Charlie Mpi gave the Tudors a 4-0 half-time lead, and Pearce struck again after the break in between two consolation goals from the visitors.
The victory regains Hemel’s four-point cushion at the summit of the division, and adds to their impressive goal difference.
“It was very important to get back to winning ways and I thought we were excellent in the first half,” said Tudors manager Dean Brennan.
“We scored some excellent goals and the first half display was one of our best of the season.
“We are now looking to build some momentum, and we are still taking it game by game.”
Hemel always looked in control on Saturday and took the lead inside five minutes when the irrepressible Dave Pearce placed a curled effort into the top corner.
The lead was soon doubled when King fired home from the edge of the area, and it was 3-0 after 23 minutes as Jordan Parkes headed Danny May’s delivery across goal for Nolan to finish from close range.
Hemel were at their free-flowing best and it was not long until they added a fourth – Mpi latching on to Nolan’s pass and coolly slotting home.
To their credit, Kettering did not give up and the visitors pulled a goal back after 56 minutes through Will Muzvimbiri.
But the goal of the game arrived with 15 minutes left to play – and it was that man Pearce who scored it.
An excellent move involving Nolan, Jake Gilbert and May freed Pearce, and he slotted home via the post.
Kettering got a late consolation when King was penalised for handball in the area – allowing Jamie Griffiths to notch from the spot – but it could not take the gloss off a fine win for the table-topping Tudors.