OXFORD CITY V HHTFC - 10/02/18
Please see below match report by Allan Mitchell
Oxford City 4 Hemel Hempstead Town 1
Hemel travelled to an out of form Oxford City hoping to get their promotion hopes back on track after a surprise home defeat to Poole in their last game. City hadn’t won for five matches and had only picked up one point in the process so the odds were firmly in favour of the visitors,
however, Hemel seem to have developed a habit of dropping points against teams in the lower half of the table and that’s how it panned out on City’s 3G surface.
The rain lashed down for most of the game which made things difficult but nothing was to prepare the Tudors faithful for what unfolded before them. They had the first decent chance as early as the 3rd minute when some good build up play sent David Moyo on a run towards goal, he was closed down quickly by City keeper Craig King but still managed to tuck his shot past him but the angle was tight and it hit the outside of the post and was cleared. Spencer McCall was chasing in at the back post unmarked but Moyo didn’t see him and elected to shoot and so City survived. An early goal would have been just what Dean Brennan would have been hoping for against a side that would have been lacking in
confidence but having escaped that early let off it was the home side who looked more dangerous, with their front three causing problems with their pace. Laurie walker saved well after just ten minutes and minutes later Reece Fleet hit a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected wide for a corner. The corner just wasn’t dealt with and Fleet made no mistake this time, driving home from close range. Oxford were getting a lot of success chasing in behind Hemel’s back line and a loose pass on the halfway line was quickly passed forward to Matt Patterson who raced towards goal. Walker came out to close him down and saved his shot but the linesman flagged to say that the Hemel stopper had just slid out of his area and therefore stopped a goalscoring opportunity by handling outside the box. The referee wasted no time in producing a red card much to Walker’s dismay, the keeper claiming he was inside when he saved the shot and it certainly looked very harsh at the time, with the freekick being placed right on the line at the edge of the area. The Tudors were now faced with the prospect of playing the remaining hour and fifteen minutes with ten men and also had to sacrifice the influential Spencer McCall so that sub keeper Dillon Barnes could replace Walker. Oxford went two up in more controversial circumstances when Oxlade-Chamberlain bundled the ball home when Barnes had claimed it had been kicked out of his hands, Chamberlain also appeared to handle the ball as it went in but the goal stood and the Tudors task was made all the more difficult. They had a couple of chances just before the break, Moyo had a decent effort saved and Joe Howe somehow managed to miss a cross to the back post, ending up in the back of the net himself before Sinclair wasted a chance for City when he
raced clear right on half time but Barnes managed to deflect the ball wide.
The second half saw the home side sit back somewhat, quite content to keep what they had but they still remained dangerous on the break and Barnes made a couple of good saves to keep his side in the game. Darren Ward came on to make his debut for the Tudors and powered home a header to reduce the deficit and Moyo almost made it 2-1 when he turned sharply and forced a full length save out of King, who just managed to tip it away for a corner. The corner was taken whilst Hemel were down to 9 men after City skipper Godfery Poku appeared to use an elbow on Joe Howe, causing the Hemel full back to have to leave the field to have a bandage put over a cut on his face that he received as a result of the challenge. Poku only received a yellow card and just to rub it in, he got on the end of a quick breakway, from the corner to tuck the
ball home and so effectively end the contest. As Hemel pushed forward the ten men were leaving more gaps at the back and sub Samuel Nombe chased a carbon copy counter attack down and tucked past the helpless Barnes to make it 4-1.
In the end the scoreline flattered the home side but there was no doubt they deserved the victory which resulted in Hemel dropping a couple of places in the table and making the next game away at fellow promotion chasing Chelmsford City all the more important.
Hemel Hempstead Town
1:Laurie Walker (17:Dillon Barnes) 2:Dan Spence 3:Joe Howe 4:Jordan Parkes ©
5:Kyle Connolly 6:Ismail Yakubu 7:Matt Saunders 8:Scott Shulton (12:Will
Hoskins) 9:David Moyo 10:Alex Osborn (14:Darren Ward) (11:Spencer
McCall(17:Dillon Barnes) Subs not used 15: Ebby Nelson-Addy 16: Matt Spring.