A SECOND-HALF hat-trick from substitiute Claudio Dias proved in vain for Banbury in their Calor League Premier Division clash at Hemel Hempstead, who ran out 5-3 victors.
It was the leaders’ 11th home league win on the trot as they stormed five points clear.
Shane Blackett smashed in a shot to put them ahead on 25 minutes, and Lewis Toomey doubled the lead six minutes before the break.
Banbury brought on Dias, on loan from Northampton Town, as a second-half substitute and he had an instant impact, scoring twice in seven minutes to make it all-square.
Ben Mackey put Hemel in front once more after latching onto a miscued clearance on 62 minutes.
Keeper Laurie Walker came to Hemel’s rescue by saving Dias’s spot-kick when Banbury were awarded a penalty. Substitute Charlie Mpi made it 4-2, before Dias completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute to set up a frantic finale.
However, Hemel wrapped it up when Jordan Parkes curled a stoppage-time free-kick into the top corner.
Banbury: Snedker, Cray, Abrahams, McNulty, Pinto (Dias 46), Baker (Mbamarah 38), Lawless (Isaac 46), Bridges, Simpson, Morgan, Talabi. Subs not used : Martin, Green.