Resurgent Hemel Town won for the fifth time in a row when defeating Truro City 2-1 on Saturday after defender Ismail Yakubu netted an 82nd minute winner.
The victory over the Cornish side came at the sparsely-attended Plainmoor stadium in Devon as Truro are groundsharing with Torquay United since City’s Treyew Road ground became earmarked for development.
Hemel took an early lead on Saturday before being pegged back at the start of the second-half, but Yakubu scored with eight minutes remaining to earn the victory for the Tudors.
Three men were sent off - two for Truro and one for Hemel - in the latter stages as the game ended in a tempestuous fashion.
Truro carved out the first opening in the early exchanges when debutant Dan Rooney got in a strike that was pushed out by Hemel’s in-form keeper Laurie Walker and Niall Thompson put the rebound over.
The Tudors took a ninth minute lead when a cross to the far post was turned home by Spencer McCall for his second goal in as many games.
The hosts looked to get back on level terms when Noah Keats had an effort on goal but it was cleared from in front of goal as the visitors’ defence came under pressure.
A corner from Truro’s Connor Riley-Lowe was headed over by Jamie Richards before City then had a goal ruled out for offside.
Truro were perhaps looking the most likely side to score next as the first period wound down and Keats was denied by Walker as he tried his luck, before a dangerously-delivered free-kick from Riley-Lowe caused more concern.
The blustery conditions played their part as Truro net man Jojo Wollacott did well to deny Hemel just before the break.
It didn’t take long after the restart for the scores to be levelled when Tyler Harvey won a free-kick in a good position. River Allen put an inviting ball into the danger zone and Dan Rooney was alert to guide the ball home from in front of goal as Hemel tried in vain to keep it out.
With their tails up, Truro’s Thompson was denied as he looked to break inside the area before Ed Palmer also had an opportunity which he failed to convert.
There was another good chance shortly after when Thompson made good progress out wide and his pull-back found Dan Rooney, who was denied on the line.
The hosts were asking all the questions at this stage, but Hemel began to get into their stride again and it developed into something of an end-to-end affair.
Riley-Lowe and Keats both tried their luck only to find Walker alert, while at the other end, Wollacott also had to be at his best to deny the Tudors.
With eight minutes remaining a corner picked out the head of Yakubu who gave Hemel a lead that they would not relinquish.
But there was more drama to come when both teams were reduced to ten men in quick succession. Palmer was dismissed for Truro in the 83rd minute and then Hemel’s Alex Osborn received his marching orders two minutes’ later.
As the clock ticked down, Harvey went close to levelling matters only for Truro to be reduced to nine men when Keats became the third player to see red in the 90th minute.
The closing stages also saw City manager Leigh Robinson and his assistant Michael Meaker sent to the stands.
The victory, Hemel’s fifth in a row and fourth since former manager Dean Brennan left for Billericay Town on September 18, moved Hemel up to 12th place in the National League South table.
Next up for the Tudors is their home FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash against Oxford City next Saturday, October 20.
The next league action is on Saturday, October 27, when Hemel travel to 15th-ranked Eastbourne Borough.
Hemel line-up v Truro: Laurie Walker, Kavan Cotter, Kyle Connolly, Jordan Parkes, Tom Hamblin, Ismail Yakubu, Alex Osborn, James Kaloczi, Karl Oliyide, Phil Roberts, Spencer McCall. Subs: Joe Howe, Darren Ward, Sydney Ibie, George Nolan, George Paulin. Note: Truro and the league website did not state which subs came on or not for Hemel.
There was a shake-up to the caretaker management set-up this week at Vauxhall Road.
Jordan Parkes and Darren Ward were named as the co-caretaker bosses since the departure of boss Dean Brennan last month, but now Parkes is to continue on his own.
The club said via their website: “Parkes will continue to fulfil managerial duties for our upcoming National League match at Truro this Saturday and our FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Oxford City at Vauxhall Road next Saturday.
“Having previously been appointed as part of a caretaker management team with Jordan, Darren has since decided not to continue in this role.
“We are grateful to Darren for his work and help during this time.
“In regards to the managerial vacancy created by last month’s departure of Brennan and [assistant manager] Stuart Maynard, no final decision has yet been made in regards a permanent appointment.
“We expect to make an announcement shortly after chairman Dave Boggins’ return in two weeks’ time.”