Hemel triumphed in the “Tudor Derby” making it three wins out of three on grass and a result that went very much against the form book.
Hampton came into the game off the back of three straight wins without conceding a goal whilst the Tudors had lost their previous two games. We were having a chat in the stand before the kick off and a couple of us suggested that a draw would be a decent return under the circumstances. We were met by a stare from Chairman Dave Boggins who was aghast at the very thought of only coming away with a point, the Tudors Chairman was convinced we’d win the game.
He was proved right as they put in their best performance of the season, with every player, including subs putting in a shift and it was rewarded with, not only three goals but our first clean sheet of the campaign so far.
The Tudors made their usual bright start and just did not let up as they pushed their opponents back. After winning a succession of corners and free kicks around the box they deservedly took the lead on 18 minutes when another free kick was met with some force by Nathan Cooper who powered his header home.The last time Hemel took the lead was against Braintree and we conceded straight after but there was no chance of that this evening as the defence, marshalled brilliantly by Liam McDevitt and Cooper kept ‘The Beavers’ at bay.
Hampton were somewhat relieved to hear the half time whistle, such was the visitor’s dominance and they were grateful to go into the break just a goal behind.
We were all expecting something of a response from the home side in the second period but it just never came as the Tudors continued to work and chase them down. They went further in front just a couple of minutes into the half when JJ Lacey sent a lovely ball through to Reggie Young down the left, splitting the defence, he got to the byline and drilled a cross that fizzed across the six yard box, it hit the unfortunate Myles Anderson who was chasing back to cover and went in for an own goal.
Reggie and Stephen Duke-McKenna were causing all sort of problems for Hampton with their pace and control, whilst the central area was marshalled superbly by Chris Paul and Jake Howells who has seized his chance playing in his favoured position in centre midfield.
JJ Lacey almost opened his account for the Tudors but his shot was just deflected wide as the visitors continued to control the game.
The game was finally put to bed as the clock ticked down when Jake Evans pounced on some hesitation from a Hampton defender under pressure from Bernard Christie on the edge of the box, he took a touch before curling a superb shot over the keeper and into the top corner for the goal of the game.
With the points in the bag Hemel still kept up the work rate and you could hear skipper Howells demanding they kept going, determined to come away with a clean sheet as well as the win. In the end a thoroughly deserved result, keeping the improvement going and with Dulwich at home on Saturday, the players will be looking for more of the same and their first home win of the season.
Manager Lee Bircham was delighted with the performance and said that everyone in the squad contributed to the result and they are all determined to keep it going, not wanting it to be a one off, saying they need to get a run of results going.
Hemel: Dean Snedker, Gus Scott-Morriss (Jacques Kphomouh) Luke Pennell, Jake Howells © Liam McDevitt, Nathan Cooper, Stephen Duke-McKenna (Omar Rowe) Chris Paul, JJ Lacey (Jake Evans) Bernard Christie, Reggie Young. Subs not used: Ryan Kinnane, Danny Boness (gk)
Tudors Man of the Match: Jake Howells – for the second game in a row the skipper put in a Captains performance and just edged the rest of the squad for the award.