With a sense of the usual sporting inevitably, it was a former player who returned to do the damage against Hemel Hempstead Town tonight (Tuesday) as they went down 2-1 at the death to playoff-chasing Dartford at Vauxhall Road.
Ex-striker Phil Roberts bagged a brace for the visitors as Dartford condemned the Tudors to their fourth league defeat in six National League South outings.
Hemel threw away the chance of a good point against their playoff-hopeful opponents when they allowed the visitors to score in the 89th minute, just 30 seconds after skipper Jordan Parkes converted a penalty to bring the scores level at 1-1,
Roberts, who was oft-injured when playing for the Tudors, netted five times in all competitions for Hemel in 11 appearances (eight starts), before leaving for Dartford in early December.
He put Dartford 1-0 up on 80 minutes, flicking home a free-kick that Hemel keeper Laurie Walker couldn’t keep out.
Parkes equalised with a spot-kick just eight minutes later to give Hemel’s fans hope that they would emerge from this rain-lashed encounter with a point.
But less than a minute later the Tudors chucked it away when abject defending left Roberts by himself and he lashed a shot past Walker.
It wasn’t the first time this season that has happened as earlier in the campaign another former Tudors forward David Moyo returned to score against Hemel for his new side St Albans City.
The first-half started with some good Hemel pressure that should have yielded a goal but it ended with the visitors largely on top without being particularly threatening.
Tonight’s defeat puts Tudors’ boss Joe Deeney under a bit of pressure as his side’s winless streak in the league was extended to seven matches.
Dartford, in seventh place going into the match, moved up to sixth after the victory, while Hemel remain in 14th position in the standings.
This Saturday Hemel host bogey side Bath City, who are now in seventh place.
Hemel line-up v Dartford: Laurie Walker, Kavan Cotter, Jacques Kpohomouh, Jordan Parkes (captain), Darren Ward, Tom Hamblin, Kieran Monlouis, Frankie Musonda, Arel Amu (Jack Snelus), Leon Lobjoit, Arthur Read. Subs: Ollie Swain, Kyle Connolly, Matteo Mendy, Danny Bonness.