FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round | Saturday 30th September 2023 Match report by Allan Mitchell
Hemel are one game away from the first qualifying round of the FA Cup after a hard fought but professional result on the east coast.
Gorleston play at Great Yarmouth’s council owned ground which has a running track around it and is also home to the oldest wooden stand in the world. It meant that the crowd of 370 was spread around the perimeter which gave the impression of a Sunday morning park game somewhat but there were over 100 Tudors fans in the stadium who did their best to make themselves heard throughout.
The first half was something of a dull affair with the home side to content to sit deep and keep men behind the ball, hoping to nick a goal on the counter.
There were two early chances at both ends before the game settled, Montel McKenzie met a freekick at the back post but it was superbly saved and a couple of minutes later Gorleston hit the post when a cross from the right was met by Johnson who rose to head goalwards, Tudors deputy goalkeeper James Taylor got the faintest touch and was relieved to see it bounce off the woodwork.
That was just about it for first half action in a game that was crying out for a goal.
Gorleston looked to start the second half with a bit more positivity and it almost paid off when a cross come shot almost caught Taylor out but he reacted superbly to tip the ball onto the bar.
Hemel took the lead the lead shortly after when a superb cross field ball from Kyle Ajayi found McKenzie on the opposite flank, he raced into the box evading a couple of tackles before driving the ball home just before the hour mark.
The game really opened up now and Gorleston really should have equalised shortly when some good work down the right saw the ball find Johnson in space just six yards out, he took a touch before firing it wide of the post when it looked easier to score and the Tudors made them pay when they quickly added a second. George Williams did superbly on the left, driving to the touchline before slotting the ball back to Tarrelle Whittaker who blasted it into the roof of the net.
Gorleston kept plugging away but Hemel have been very resilient at the back this season and never looked in any danger as the clock ticked down.
The Tudor Army will be hoping for a kind draw in the next round as National League Premier Division side come into the hat but the first round proper would give the club a huge boost on and off the pitch.
Hemel: James Taylor, Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kyle Ajayi, Josh Hill (Chris Smith) Myles Judd (Reece Grant) George Williams, Tarrelle Whittaker, Joe Re, Tyrelle Newton, Arj Krasniqi (Alfie Mathews) Subs not used: Sayoud, Powell, Carman, Brown.
Attendance 370 Tudors Man of the Match: James Taylor.