Harpenden Town scored five to beat Hatfield in a dramatic match and start the new year at the top of Spartan South Midlands League Division One.

Harps started strongly and after 15 minutes went head when Sam James picked up a loose ball on the edge on the box and curled it into the corner of the goal.

But Hatfield came back, hitting the post two minutes later. Their striker picked up the rebound heading down into the net for 1-1.

Harpenden pressured continuously for the rest of the half but could not score again before half time.

Charlie Gould hit the post with a header on the restart then on 55 minutes Sam James started a slick move by crossing to Frankie Jowle inside the box who slid it on to Harry Hunt who side footed the ball past the keeper for 2-1.

There was drama when a linesman needed treatment then couldn't continue so Harpenden committee member Ray Collins, a qualified ref, volunteered to run the line and the match thankfully continued.

After 71 minutes Charlie Gould picked up the ball in midfield and with his pace beat the whole defence and carefully placed the ball into the side-netting for a superb solo goal for 3-1.

The fourth came when Gould, having a great game, ran close to the by-line then passed back to Jowle who slotted home.

Finally on 82 minutes Hunt charging forward had a fierce shot saved by Hatfield's goalie. Jowle picked up the rebound on the right and curled the ball past the keeper and into the net for 5-1.

The drama still wasn't over as Hatfield won a penalty which was saved by Connor Sanson who duly got booked for an unsporting celebration.

Manager Danny Plumb said:"We created lots of chances and eventually wore down the opposition by totally dominating the second half.

"It was a good all round performance."

Harpenden still lead the league on 51 points halfway through the season with Biggleswade on the same points with an inferior goal difference.