Dulwich Hamlet produced an astonishing second-half performance with a six-goal blitz to stun Hemel Hempstead at the Vauxhall Ground on Bank Holiday Monday.
There was little indication of the avalanche of goals to come when the sides went in at the break goalless, not least because the Hamlet had only scored once in their opening two National League South games of the season.
The hosts actually had the better of the first quarter of an hour as Nathan Cooper and Alfie Cerulli just failed to test Charlie Grainger in the Dulwich goal.
The Hamlet were barely a threat in attack in the opening half an hour as they struggled to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Dartford at Champion Hill two days earlier.
In fact, The Tudors were left wondering how they had not taken the lead in the 25th minute when Cerulli headed wide from inside the six-yard box.
The Hamlet’s first proper attempt arrived in the 32nd minute but Danny Mills headed off-target at the back post.
But that chance seemed to spark the visitors and they went close again three minutes before the break when only a last-ditch intervention by defender Gus Scott-Morriss prevented the ball ending up in the back of the net.
Hemel Hempstead responded a minute later with their first shot on target, but Grainger comfortably held on to Kyjoun Marsh-Brown’s shot after the midfielder had been found by the busy Cerulli.
The home side then lost Kyle Ajayi to an injury a minute before half-time, but were able to replace him with the calibre of former MK Dons and Birmingham midfielder and ex-Republic of Ireland international Stephen Gleeson.
There was one last action in the first half when Mills was booked after catching Scott-Morriss.
And then the night-and-day transformation of this game kicked off right at the beginning of the second half as Dulwich raced into a 3-0 lead by the 53rd minute.
Within seconds of the start of the second period the Hamlet went in front when Giovanni McGregor found Chike Kandi who controlled before volleying past Lewis Patching.
It was 2-0 three minutes later and this time McGregor added a goal to his assist as he fired a free-kick beyond the reach of Patching.
The home side were spinning and Patching was scooping the ball out of the net for the third time in less than eight minutes after the pick of the game’s goals.
Andrew Harris-Sealy played a one-two with Kandi on halfway before racing towards goal and driving a shot past the dazed home goalkeeper.
Hemel Hempstead, though, showed their fight and again should have scored in the 66th minute but JJ Lacey had an effort blocked yards from the line from Josh Castiglione’s header down.
And, again, Lee Bircham’s side were made to pay when just three minutes later Mills got his first when he headed home former Leyton Orient winger James Dayton’s superb cross.
Hamlet skipper Mills then deepened the hosts’ misery five minutes from time with another header, this time from a corner.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, there was still time for Hemel Hempstead to hand their opponents the chance of a sixth from the penalty spot in the 90th minute. Jamie Splatt, on the pitch only minutes, made no mistake from twelve yards.
That emphatic result moved Dulwich up to twelfth with four points from their opening three games.
They travel to Eastbourne Borough, who are fifteenth, on Saturday. Kick-off is 3pm.