HHTFC v DARTFORD - 05/03/19
By Dean Chance
See below report by Allan Mitchell
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Dartford 2
It was another frustrating evening for The Tudors as they lost to promotion chasing Dartford in the rain at Vauxhall Road.
It’s now eight games since they have won a game and it’s a run that manager Joe Deeney feels doesn’t reflect on his teams performances in those matches. Apart from Chippenham and Slough the team have played well at times and he wrote in his programme notes that we have to be mentally more ruthless and ensure that when the big moments arrive in both boxes we are able to dominate them and kill games off.
This was once again the case in this game as Hemel created a number of chances but failed to capitalise on them and were made to pay. Indeed the home side created more opportunitiess in the first 30 minutes than they did in the whole of the game in the disappointing defeat at Slough with Jordan Parkes, Arel Amu and Arthur Read all coming close.
Leon Lobjoit also got on the end of a well worked corner, when Darren Ward nodded the ball back across the face of the goal but he couldn’t keep his header down and it went over the bar. Frankie Musonda fired wide before a Parkes corner almost caught Bailey Vose out, the Darts keeper just tipping it over from right underneath the bar.
Dartford almost took the lead with their first attack of the half just before the half hour mark when ex Tudor Phil Roberts raced clear but Laurie Walker did well to intercept the ball just before Roberts could get a toe to it. Another good Tudors move down the left saw Kpohomouh drive the ball across the six yard box, it evaded everyone except Read who took a touch, allowing a defender to get a block in on his shot. Now the Tudor Army were starting to get a bit twitchy having seen all of this before, their side dominating the game with nothing to show for it. Indeed Dartford appeared to be waking from their slumbers and were starting to create one or two chances themselves but without really troubling Walker.
The second half saw Dartford have more possession but it was still Hemel who looked the more dangerous. Lobjoit managed to get clear but with the keeper to beat he took the ball too wide, he cut back inside but once again the Darts back line regrouped and blocked his shot. Amu then received the ball on the edge of the box, turning well before shooting just wide but the warning signs were there for Hemel as Roberts started to make an impact at the other end.
Not the most popular amongst Tudor’s fans after his forgettable time with the club, he looked a far better prospect in this game and looked as though he had a point to prove. He saw along range effort just clear the bar before getting booked for a deliberate handball minutes later, when he tried to flick the ball away from Ward in the penalty area, fortunately seen by the officials.
Jordan Parkes curled a trademark freekick over the wall but it was just too close to Vose who manged to tip it over the bar.
With the clock ticking down the inevitable happened. Hemel were guilty of conceding a needless free kick out on the right. The ball was whipped in with pace and Roberts (who else) flicked the ball past Walker to give the Darts a somewhat fortunate lead. To their credit the Hemel players kept going when they could have easily let their heads drop and they came close to an immediate reply when Jack Snelus shot just wide.
With just a few minutes left a clumsy challenge on Tom Hamblin gave Hemel a lifeline, the referee pointing to the spot after consulting his linesman. Jordan Parkes stepped up and powered home the spot kick, despite Vose getting a hand on it.
Most people in the ground felt that was a fairer reflection of the game but it was turned on its head again just a minute later when a poor clearance fell to the unmarked Roberts on the edge of the box and he wasted no time drilling the ball past Walker to put his side back in front, the classic sucker punch.
With just a few minutes left it was another case of what might have been, with Hemel ruing a couple of mistakes and reflecting on missed chances. There was still time for a Tudors attempt right at the death, great work by Kyle Connolly down the left saw him get a cross in, the ball was flicked across to Kavan Cotter who shot first time only to see Vose stick a hand up and deflect it wide to deny them what would have been a deserved point, as the referee blew the whistle seconds later.
At the end of the day another disappointing result but there can be no denying that effort that the players put in on this occasion, Tudors fans will be hoping for a change in fortunes in the next game, which is at Vauxhall Road against another promotion chasing side Bath City who have had the evil eye over Hemel in recent seasons. The home fans will be hoping that “Bogey” tag has been put to bed after their side snatched a win in the away fixture earlier in the season.
Hemel 1: Laurie Walker 2: Kavan Cotter 3: Jacques Kpohomouh 4: Jordan Parkes 5: Darren Ward 6: Tom Hamblin 7: Keiran Monlouis 8: Frankie Musonda 9: Arel Amu (15: Jack Snelus) 10: Leon Lobjoit (16: Matteo Mendy) 11: Arthur Read ( 14: Kyle Connolly) Subs not used : 12: Oliver Swain 17: Danny Boness.
Attendance 360 Tudors Man of the Match : Kieran Monlouis.