Manager Dean Brennan described it a ‘must-win game’ for his Hemel Town side against Hayes and Yeading tonight – and the Tudors duly delivered a masterclass in finishing as they ran out deserved 4-0 victors at Vauxhall Road.
Terrell Forbes put Hemel ahead with a thumping header at the end of the first half, before the Tudors ran riot in the second period with wonder-strikes from Jack Smith, Matty Spring and Matty Harriott.
The big team news for Hemel was a first start for the club for former St Albans man John Frendo, with forward Oliver Hawkins missing the game due to a stomach bug.
The first effort on goal came from Hayes midfielder Luke Williams who forced a decent fingertip save from Tudors keeper Jamie Butler.
Hemel’s first real opportunity fell to Frendo after he was put in by Spring, but the striker was thwarted by visiting keeper Dan Lincoln who did well to keep out his snap shot.
Alex Osborn should have given Hayes the lead on the half hour mark when he lost Smith at the back post, but he could only manage to direct his close range header inches wide of the far post.
Hemel were next to come close as excellent interchange between Frendo and Smith saw the latter play the ball across goal to Ben Herd who was denied by a fine sprawling save from Lincoln.
The away side’s relief was short-lived, however, as the Tudors broke the deadlock five minutes before half-time. Spring sent in a tempting outswinging corner, and Forbes arrived to thump a header into the corner of the net.
Hemel started the second half brightly and came close to doubling their advantage when Smith connected sweetly with a rasping volley which was deflected just over the bar by a visiting defender.
And it was that man Smith who put the Tudors 2-0 to the good shortly after the hour mark. The lively James Potton was crudely scythed down on the edge of the box, and Smith stepped up to curl a delightful free-kick into the top corner of the net.
No sooner had the crowed stopped celebrating Smith’s goal than they were off their seats again as Spring got in on the action with a wonder strike of his own. Picking the ball up 35 yards from goal, the former Luton man took a touch and crashed a stinging drive into the bottom corner to put Hemel 3-0 up.
The Tudors were now full of confidence and it was not long before they added a fourth goal as Harriott latched on to the ball and curled an excellent strike beyond the despairing dive of Lincoln to secure the win in style for the rampant hosts.
Hemel Hempstead Town: 1 Jamie Butler, 2 Ben Herd, 3 Kyle Connolly, 4 Matty Harriott, 5 Terrell Forbes, 6 Matty Spring (Richens 78), 7 James Potton (c) (Gnahore, 82), 8 Ed Oshodi, 9 John Frendo (Sharriff 65), 10 Jamie Slabber, 11 Jack Smith. Subs not used: 12 Jamal Lowe, 17 Xavier Comas Leon.