Harpenden Town moved up to second in the Southern Division Premier League on Saturday as they secured a battling 2-1 win over Oxhey Jets.

Harps were without five first team regulars but managed to make do without the absentees to come away with all three points.

The result leaves them just two poins behind the league’s pace-setters Berkhamsted and are just ahead of Welwyn.

The festive period could be a vital one for Town as they face both Berko and Welwyn over the new year.

Oxhey went ahead from a free kick which John Smith headed home after 14 minutes.

Harps piled forward and on 28 minutes Oxhey’s keeper parried a shot on target but the clearance was picked up by Steve O’Reilly 25 yards out and he blasted in a superb shot for the 1-1 equaliser.

In the second half central defender Sam Jenkins was replaced by teenager Will McLelland after a knock. That was the sixth new partnership at the back in five games because of the long list of injuries.

In the second half stiker Harry Hunt’s cross cum shot was tipped onto the bar by Oxhey’s keeper and trickled over. Then he impeded Hunt just outside the box for a free kick and a Hunt header went just wide after 85 minutes.

Young Kyle McLeish was always a danger with his speed and strength playing wide and chasing long balls from the back.

The tactic finally worked in the last minute when Kyle picked up a long pass, beat his marker then sprinted to the by-line to collect the ball which he curled round the keeper to score in the far side netting for 2-1.

Jets came on strong as the game ticked towards its conclusion and threw everything at Harps.

Their final attack saw their goalkeeper come forward for a corner, but they couldn’t force a leveller as Harps held on.

Town take on London Tigers in their next match on Saturday.