A comprehensive 5-0 away win against bottom-of-the-table Whitehawk pushed Hemel Town back into the National League South playoff places on Saturday.
The dominant display sees the Tudors climb into sixth place and just three points off the top spot, plus with a game in hand.
It was a bitterly cold day down near Brighton at the TerraPura Stadium, which sits on the side of a hill with scaffolding covering one end to give it the look of a ground that is a ‘work in progress’.
Hemel didn’t waste any time getting their noses in front, taking the lead within the first minute. Returning striker David Moyo’s shot was parried by rookie Hawk keeper Jordan Hawkins into the path of Will Hoskins who gleefully fired home at the far post for his first league goal for The Tudors since joining in early November.
It was a nervy start by the Hawk’s academy netminder, who had to step in at the last minute due to an injury to their usual stopper.
He made up for these early nerves when, just moments later, he saved well with his feet from Hemel’s Alex Osborn, the loose ball then being driven just wide by Scotty Shulton.
Hemel continued to press forward and looked to have added a second when James Kaloczi headed home from a Jordan Parkes corner but the referee saw a push and disallowed the goal.
Moyo, who has been struggling with a broken toe sustained on August 1, then had a decent header well-saved and the same player saw his shot parried again by Hawkins who was now rising to the challenge.
He was easily the busiest of the two keepers with Hemel’s Laurie Walker doing well to keep himself warm at the other end.
Hemel got the second goal their efforts deserved after the half-hour mark when the excellent Osborn broke down the right and crossed to Kaloczi who headed home unchallenged.
The second-half saw Whitehawk look to step up their efforts somewhat but they created little threat and went further behind on 50 minutes when Spencer McCall and Parkes combined well on the edge of the box. The Tudors captain slipped Town’s Hoskins in, and he tucked the ball past the helpless Hawkins for his second of the game to make it 3-0.
The goal came at a bit of a cost, though, as McCall needed some attention after getting clattered in the build-up and had to be replaced by Matt Campbell-Mhlope.
McCall’s injury doesn’t appear to be too serious thankfully, the diminutive midfielder suffered a dead leg it seems. McCall has been a bright addition to the team since he joined Hemel in mid-October
Moyo looks like he is getting somewhere near to full match fitness after his long layoff and he led the line well and on another day he could have had a hat-trick. He broke clear of Whitehawk’s weary backline just after the hour mark and looked certain to score but it was deflected wide by a desperate last-ditch block by a back-peddling defender.
Hemel made it 4-0 on 69 minutes when a lovely move saw Shulton hit a superb crossfield ball to Kaloczi, who drove down the right and set-up Campbell-Mhlope, who controlled the ball first time, cut inside and fired home powerfully from just inside the six-yard box to open his account for the Tudors.
Two minutes later Osborn got the goal he deserved when he smashed the ball in from the edge of the area, leaving Hawkins no chance, to cap an excellent man-of-match display against his former team.
Moyo then had a chance to make it 6-0 but his shot from six yards hit the underside of the bar and bounced away, proving that it just wasn’t his day.
Hemel manager Dean Brennan won’t be too bothered, though, with the striker putting himself in the right places and it will surely only be a matter of time before these chances goes in.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Tudors who were given some excellent backing by the Tudor Army who made the long trip to the south coast.
It was Hemel’s biggest margin of victory of the season and saw them reach five goals in a game for the first time this term (previous high - four, against Ware, Poole, Braintree and Royston).
Next up is a real six-pointer against fellow promotion rivals Chelmsford City who sit just one point in front of The Tudors in fifth place.
Kick-off at Vauxhall Road this Saturday, December 16,is at 3pm - do get along and support “your town, your team”. It really is a good time to get behind the Tudors in their efforts to rise to the National League Premier division.
Hemel v Whitehawk: Laurie Walker, James Kaloczi (Matt Hall), Tom Day, Jordan Parkes, Kyle Connolly, Ismail Yakubu, Alex Osborn, Scotty Shulton, David Moyo, Will Hoskins, Spencer McCall (Matt Campbell-Mhlope).
Subs not used: Antonio German, Jesse Highfield and Danny Boness.
Mitch’s man of the match: Alex Osborn.