Hemel Hempstead Town 4 Cirencester 1
The Tudors put in a gutsy display to give themselves a chance of surviving in the Southern Premier League as they defeated already relegated Cirencester at Vauxhall Road on Saturday.
Hemel went into the game knowing that, realistically, only a win would be good enough to keep their hopes alive of avoiding the dreaded drop, and a confident display ensured Mark Eaton’s side took all three points.
Any nerves that the home side had coming into the game were soon brushed to one side as they took the lead in the fifth minute.
Dave Deeney crossed the ball into the area to Dave Pearce, who volleyed over Centurions keeper Charles Steward and into the net.
In similar fashion, the lead was doubled in the 24th minute as Matt McEntegart flicked home Danny May’s delivery from the right.
The goals continued to flow for the home side and a third came in the 33rd minute.
Deeney’s through-ball over the defence found Ryan Blake and the winger superbly finished over Steward to put the Tudors firmly in control.
Cirencester pulled one back before the break with a Scott Griffin penalty after Bill Morgan brought down Nathan Davies, but Hemel went into half-time knowing they had been by far the better side.
And within a minute of the restart, the home side managed to score a fourth goal in a league game for the first time this season as Ross Lafayette fired home into the roof of the net after being played in by Pearce.
To their credit, relegated Cirencester continued to show spirit and determination and carved out a few minor chances, with Griffin forcing Mike McEntegart into a smart instinct save.
Tudors keeper McEntegart was again needed late on as Ollie Pitt’s strike was well kept out, but the Tudors held on for the crucial three points.
Hemel’s attention now turns to tonight’s home game against Oxford CIty.
Once again, the Tudors know that they must win the game if they are to stand any chance of avoiding relegation.