STRATFORD Town produced one of their best performances of the season to destroy title challengers Hednesford Town and end a seven-match losing streak.
Building on a much-improved performance at high-flyers Nuneaton Borough on Saturday, Town swept aside the Pitmen 4-1 on Tuesday night for the first victory since Tommy Wright departed as manager.
Caretaker boss Paul Davis and his coaching team were delighted with the display, suggesting it was another positive step after their efforts against Nuneaton.
The win lifted them six points from the drop zone in the Southern League Premier Central before they face two away games next week.
With no game on Saturday due to the FA Trophy, Stratford head to 12th-placed Royston Town on Tuesday before they travel to third-from-bottom St Ives Town next Saturday.
But they hit the road with renewed confidence after Tuesday’s display at the Arden Garages Stadium.
They couldn’t have wished for a better start as they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes.
Ravi Shamsi converted Chris Wreh’s cross at the far post for the first goal on seven minutes before Ben Bailey could only deflect another Wreh cross into his own net to double the advantage.
The Pitmen pegged back the hosts for the rest of the half and got their reward in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Bailey poked home in a goalmouth scramble from Tom Elliott’s corner.
Town survived further pressure in the second period before Lewis Wilson raced down the inside right channel to set up man of the match Shamsi for 3-1 just past the hour mark.
Kyle McFarlane settled matters five minutes from time after Shamsi created the opening and the York City loanee raced free to slot past Andy Wycherley with aplomb.
On Saturday, Town were left frustrated as two set-pieces proved their undoing at Nuneaton.
Stratford defended stoutly, with Kai Woollard-Innocent working tirelessly to snuff out Borough dangerman Callum Powell.
Nuneaton wasted a glorious chance to break the deadlock on 62 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for a handball, only for Boro keeper Tony Breeden, a familiar penalty taker in his Leamington days, to smash high over Sam Lomax’s goal.
The reprieve, however, only lasted six minutes before Joel Kettle pounced to bundle home after Lomax spilled an Alex Henshall free kick.
Boro’s second came with two minutes left to play, when the referee spotted another handball and Powell slotted home.