Hemel Hempstead Town returned home empty-handed from their trip to title-chasing Maidstone United as the hosts battled back from a goal behind to take all three points.
Hemel travelled to high flying Maidstone very much as underdogs in this Vanarama National League South fixture but they can consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with at least a point.
The visitors started brightly with a strong wind behind their backs and Stones keeper Lee Worgan was forced into an early save from a long range effort.
Keeping the pressure on, The Tudors forced some corners and then took the lead after just seven minutes when Ricky Wellard found space in the box and drove the ball past Worgan to silence the large home crowd.
The wind started to cause more problems for Hemel than Maidstone, with the ball frequently running away from the on running forwards.
Maidstone came more into the game as the ball held up for them and they started to create and miss opportunities.
It wasn’t long before they levelled the scores after Callum Davies received the ball on the right; it appeared to bounce up and hit his hand before he controlled it but he wasted no time in setting his sights and fired into the top corner.
Maidstone then missed a couple of decent chances, but with the half time interval approaching, it looked like Hemel had weathered the storm and were heading into the break level.
With three minutes of injury time played, a back pass to Jamie Butler looked harmless enough but the normally reliable custodian tried to pass the ball rather than put his foot through it and it was intercepted by Vas Karagiannis, who rounded the keeper before crashing the ball into the top corner to give his side a somewhat fortuitous half time lead.
The second half saw Maidstone struggle with the wind behind them, often over-hitting passes and it was Hemel who created the better opportunities.
However, Adam Bailey-Dennis received a second yellow card for the same offence as his first – handball – and the visitors were down to 10 men.
It didn’t seem to affect their efforts as they pushed forward for the equaliser.
Michael Richens saw Worgen tip his long range effort over the bar and Wellard had an excellent chance to level but he hit his shot straight at the keeper who pushed the ball away. It bounced just in front of Mat Mitchel-King who just couldn’t get a touch on it, with the goal gaping.
Maidstone were also reduced to 10 men when Jack Paxman saw red, also for a second yellow, but the Kent side held on to grab all three points.
Hemel – 1:Butler 2:Ben Herd © 3:Reiss Greenidge 4:Adam Bailey-Dennis 5: Oliver Thorne 6:Matt Spring 7: Ricky Wellard (Jack Kelly) 8: Michael Richens (Mat
Mitchel-King) 9:Ibra Sekajja 10: Morgan Ferrier 11: Graeme Montgomery (Harry
Hickford). Subs not used: Xavier Vidal, Colm Parrott
Tudors man of the match: Ollie Thorne.