MICHAEL Cheek hit four goals as Chelmsford City took a giant leap towards beating the drop with a 7-1 thrashing of Tonbridge Angels.
Luke Callander, who moved with Cheek from Heybridge Swifts to Clarets earlier in the season, hit a brace as Mark Hawkes’ side blew away – and relegated their Kent opposition.
Hawkes hailed the “impressive performance” which leaves his City side needing just one point from their last two games to secure a spot in next season’s Skrill South.
The victory came just two days after Clarets had been left teetering on the brink, following a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Staines Town.
Of the Tonbridge victory, Hawkes said: “It was an impressive performance and I believe we are a different side at home.
"We started with a high tempo and scored an early goal after ten-minutes and, unlike other games where we got off to a good start, we’ve scored goals two and three which settled us down.
“Second half was a little bit flat, but, being 4-0 up like we were, and being in that position myself as a player, it’s difficult to keep going.
"We still scored three goals in the second half, but the damage was done in the first half an hour when we were really on the front foot.”
Callander started the Easter Monday rout in the tenth minute, getting on the end of Christian Smith’s free kick and steering the ball into the net.
Seven minutes later, Callander thought he’d scored again, but his shot deflected in off Mark Lovell and the goal went down as an own goal.
It was 3-0 after 28 minutes. This time Callander tee’d up Cheek who headed home.
City ensured the game was won by half time, when two minutes before the break, Cheek fired past Carey to make it 4-0.
On the half-hour mark, Callander added a fifth, and his second, lofting the ball over Carey whose poor clearance landed at the feet of the striker.
Tonbridge then grabbed a consolation when Chris Piper saw his free kick fly past Carl Pentney in the City goal.
City added two goals in the final five minutes, both coming through Cheek.
The much-needed win came just 48 hours after City’s trip to Surrey ended in defeat.
Louis-Rae Beadle and Louis Theophanous gave Staines Town an early two-goal lead. Callander pulled one back for the visitors, but Sanchez Ming sealed the win for Staines with a 71st minute penalty.