Hemel Hempstead Town moved a step closer to the Conference South playoff places with a vital 3-1 victory over Chelmsford City tonight.
The Tudors raced into an early lead through Ed Oshodi, and they doubled their advantage soon afterwards as Matty Harriott fired home.
Chelmsford pulled a goal back before half-time courtesy of a fine solo effort from Joe Ward, but Hemel wrapped up the points in stoppage time at the end of the game as substitute Kyle Connolly netted his first goal for the club.
The victory puts Hemel only two points off a playoff spot, with a game in hand over fifth-placed Gosport Borough.
The Tudors went into the clash with Chelmsford knowing that only a win would do if they were to put pressure on the sides above them, and they made a draeam start to the game as they took the lead inside four minutes.
A Jordan Parkes free-kick was flicked on by Dennis Oli towards Oliver Hawkins, whose effort was poked home from close range by Oshodi.
Chelmsford could, and should, have drawn level minutes later, but captain Mark Hughes failed to live up to his famous name as he headed wide when well placed in front of goal.
Instead it was Hemel who struck next to double their lead as Oli jinked his way into the penalty area. The ball seemed to strike the hand of a Chelmsford defender as he slid across to tackle, but it did not matter as Harriott was on hand to lash home past Clarets keeper Tom Lovelock.
To their credit, Chelmsford responded well to falling two goals behind, and it was the visitors who dominated the remainder of the half – duly pulling a goal back two minutes before the interval when Ward knocked the ball past Oshosi and then fired clinically past Laurie Walker into the far corner of the net.
It seemed as though a difficult second half would be on the cards for the Tudors, but Dean Brennan’s men were in no mood to let their lead slip and soon asserted their control on the game.
Chelmsford were reduced to a few half chances, and it was Hemel who looked the more likely to score the next goal – Parkes coming close to a wonder strike when his 18-yard overhead kick crashed back off the crossbar.
Brennan introduced James Simmonds, James Potton and Connolly from the bench as the Tudors looked to see the game out – and it was the latter who made sure of the three points.
With Chelmsford pushing forward, Hemel broke quickly and the ball was lofted to Connolly who produced an exquisite volley with the inside of his foot to send the Tudor fans into raptures and keep the promotion push going strong.
Next up for Hemel is a trip to high-flying Hertfordshire neighbours Boreham Wood on Saturday afternoon.