Zak Emmerson’s second half hat-trick saw Eastbourne Borough come from behind to win at St. Albans City.
The 19-year old came off the bench at half-time and made his mark as the Sports showed character to come from behind twice to win 3-2 at Clarence Park.
Mitchell Weiss and Dylan Fage had given City the lead on two occasions – the former after just 26 seconds – but Borough dug deep for a deserved win in Hertfordshire.
Mark Beard made five changes from the loss at Taunton Town seven days ago, with Decarrey Sheriff, Imran Uche, Freddie Carter and Leone Gravata all returning to the starting line up, whilst there was also a start for new signing Callum Kealy.
Borough got off to the worst possible start as the hosts broke the deadlock after just 26 seconds. Ryan Blackman found space in midfield and he played the ball through to Mitchell Weiss and his first time strike picked out the top corner from just inside the area.
However, the Sports looked to get back on level terms and came close after five minutes. Gravata threaded a ball through to Sheriff, but after taking it around Michael Johnson, could only fire into the side netting from a tight angle.
Dan Quick then helped Ben Dudzinski’s goal kick into the path of the winger, who had a shot well blocked by Dan Bowry before Gravata headed a cross just wide.
Ultimately chances came at a premium after a frantic opening, with Michael Olarewaju doing well to block Weiss’ effort after good work from Dylan Fage.
Emmerson came on for Carter at half-time as the Sports changed their shape, and after going behind within thirty seconds in the first half, Borough were level after thirty seconds of the restart.
Kealy did well to hold the ball up and find Quick on the right, and his low ball through found Sheriff in space. His shot across goal came back off the far post, but the ball fell to Emmerson who made no mistake for his first goal for the Sports.
Borough came out with purpose after the break, with Sheriff beating Andronicos Georgiou down the right but Johnson did well to claim his low cross at the near post.
But despite their fast start, the Sports found themselves behind after 50 minutes.
Ibby Akanbi got the better of his marker and teed up Weiss. He shifted the ball across the area to Fage and from twelve yards he picked out the top corner.
St Albans then went hunting for a third, and Borough had Ben Dudzinski to thank for keeping them at bay.
Gio Rasulo found Akanbi after running onto a ball over the top, only for the keeper to make a fine save with his legs.
Fage then broke past Uche in midfield and drove towards goal, but only for Dudzinski to make a good save at his near post before the Borough number 1 showed smart reactions to turn Weiss’ header from the resulting corner over the bar.
After going four games without a goal, Emmerson then got his second in twelve minutes to put Borough back on level terms.
Billy Vigar did well to make room to get the ball in from the right and find Kealy with his back to goal, and the debutant held off his marker to tee up Emmerson and the Blackpool loanee rifled it past Johnson from twelve yards.
The equaliser lifted Borough and set them on the front foot, sensing the opportunity to get their fourth league win of the campaign.
Vigar’s stooping header dipped just over before Jack Paxman’s free-kick picked out Olarewaju but he could only head wide of the near post.
Then with 16 minutes to go, the away support was sent into ecstasy. Sheriff cut inside from the right and found Paxman in space. The playmaker chipped the ball through to Emmerson, and from just inside the area he lashed a volley into the top corner for his first senior hat-trick.
St Albans made a treble change as they looked to get back into the game, but the Sports defended well and saw the game out to take all three points back to the Sussex coast.