Report by Allan Mitchell Walsall Wood defied the gap in divisions, holding their hosts to a draw and then winning with a perfect penalty shootout, George Williams missing the target with his effort for Hemel.
It was a disappointing performance from the home side who just didn’t get going on the day and it has to be said that the Midlands league side fully deserved the result.
The Tudors had the ball in the net in the 8th minute when Whittaker slotted home but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. The Wood then grew in confidence as the game wore on and they created the majority of the chances, especially in the first period. Bradley had three opportunities in quick succession, shooting just wide before having a close range effort blocked and then saw another shot clear the crossbar when he found himself in space just inside the area. Hemel went in front somewhat against the run of play when Powell danced round a couple of challenges before slotting home from a tight angle.
They almost went two up shortly after Counsell spilled an effort from George Williams, the Wood keeper just managed to scramble back to stop the ball on the line. Hemel started the second half on the front foot in the second half, forcing a series of corners but they failed to threaten Counsell and Walsall started to cause a few problems themselves with some quick counter attacks.
After spurning a guilt edged chance when Monteiro sliced the ball wide with the goal gaping, The Wood deservedly equalised when Hemel got themselves in a tangle on the edge of their own box, Callum Griffin took full advantage driving the ball home. Wood were reduced to 10 men late on when Riley fouled Williams on the edge of the box. The referee deemed it a straight red. Alfie Mathews put the resulting free kick over the bar and that pretty much summed things up for The Tudors.
Manager Brad Quinton accepted full responsibility for the performance and apologised to the supporters after the game saying that they would discuss the game and try to put it right for what will be a tough game on Tuesday at home to Bath City
Hemel: King, McKenzie, Williams (J) Smith (C) O’Connor-Ajayi, Re, Williams (G) Newton, Whitaker (Mathews) Grant (Iaciofano) Powell.Subs not used: Hill, Smith (B) Taylor, Krasniqi, Roberts.