LANCE Smith admitted his confidence has come back after scoring a hat-trick for Hereford on Saturday.

The former Evesham United marksman had missed a number of chances in recent games, but was back on song as the Bulls romped to a 5-0 win.

"I've had a few games where I've missed a few chances, so it was nice to get three goals and it could have been more," said Smith.

"I would be lying if I said it hadn't played on my mind, but it's one of those things as a striker – you've got to forget about that and once that first one went in, your confidence comes back.

"It's a good win and it's good that we've got back to winning ways in the league especially with all the cup games we've been having.

"We need to keep ploughing through this league and getting results.

"No disrespect to Hitchin, they're a good side, but we played well and have got to carry on.

"We take no one for granted in this league and have got to play to our full capability in every game and, whoever comes here, we have to be on our game and not take anyone lightly."

Despite not scoring, Hereford manager Pete Beadle felt John Mills also contributed well to the win and linked up well with Smith.

"John had an off day in front of goal, but he helped with Lance's goals," said Beadle.

"They complimented one another and now it's can they do the same on Tuesday. It's the challenge you put in front of them.

"We been lucky enough to change a few.

"The two wide boys were exceptional with the work they did, then we got the other two on for 20 minutes or so.

"So we are looking in a very strong position again with bodies back to fitness and players who have joined us.

"So it's important we keep that momentum going."

Hitchin were lively in the opening 15 minutes, with Jonny McNamara twice having efforts on goal.

But once Hereford went 1-0 up in the 17th minute, there was only going to be one winner.

Star man Tyrone Duffus powered home a Garyn Preen corner before he tapped home nine minutes before half time.

Hitchin had a great chance to get back into the game straight away when they were awarded a penalty.

However, Ben Walster slipped as he lined up to take the spot-kick, resulting in the ball going high and wide.

Garyn Preen – who was lively throughout for Hereford – then forced a save out of Michael Johnson after cutting inside before the Bulls did make it 3-0 on the stroke of half time after Smith bundled the ball into an empty net.

John Mills then had a chance to make it 4-0 shortly after the break, but his penalty was saved.

Duffus then rattled the crossbar as he searched for his hat-trick before Smith flicked home a free-kick in the 59th minute.

Smith sealed his hat-trick 20 minutes from time, while at the other end, Lucas Kirkpatrick clipped the top of the crossbar.

But Hitchin were no match for the Bulls and their misery was compounded three minutes from time when Callum Connolly was sent off after picking up two bookings.

“Hereford are a class team and they showed that,” admitted Hitchin manager Matt Burke.

“We were lucky to get away it just being 5-0 and I was a bit disappointed with our performance.

“I know we’re better than that, but credit to Hereford, they were very sharp, strong and clinical.

“And we were no match for them unfortunately.”

Burke added that a key moment in the game was his side's missed penalty.

"If it was 2-1, the game may well have changed, but we didn't score and then right on half time, they scored a third goal and it's pretty much game over," said Burke.

"But that's football, if it had gone in it might have been interesting to see what the reaction would have been from Hereford, but unfortunately it didn't happen and we were taught a lesson.

"I would have been happy with a draw as this is a tough place to come to.

"Hereford have only lost twice this season in all competitions and we knew it was going to be difficult.

"I would have been happy with a point but instead we go home with our tail between our legs."

Hereford: Horsell, O’Shea (Oates 69), Pring, Purdie, Green, Deaman, Preen (Bird 78, 6), Duffus, Mills, Reffell (Page 78), Smith.

Subs not used: Symons, Harris.

Hitchin: Johnson, Rolfe, Walster (Green 79), Dowie, Webb, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick, C Donnelly, B Donnelly (Vincent, 69), McNamara, Smith (Bailey 69).

Sub not used: Charles.

Attendance: 2,104 (17 away fans).