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Hemel 1 v Yeovil 0

Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Yeovil Town 0

Vanarama National League South – Saturday 5th August 2023

Match Report by Allan Mitchell

The Tudors got off to the perfect start at the newly named Focus Community Arena when they just edged a tight game against former EFL Championship side Yeovil Town.

With the revamped Stadium looking superb it was an excellent result especially as Yeovil are one of the pre-season favourites to go straight back up after their relegation and they certainly have the fan base and the playing budget to match those ambitions. There were nearly 700 away supporters packed into the top stand and they made plenty of noise as the game kicked off.

In the early stages, Hemel passed the ball around well without troubling the keeper. Soon after, the Glovers appeared to take the lead in the 10th minute through Jordan Maguire-Drew, who found the net from a Rhys Murphy cross, but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

As the game progressed, both teams struggled to create real chances, resulting in an evenly spread contest. The Glovers attempted to breach Hemel’s defence and get the ball into the box, but Craig King was in complete control, coming out and claiming several crosses, all looking for former West Ham and Ipswich striker Frank Nouble who had joined Yeovil from Torquay pre-season.

In the 36th minute, Yeovil had their best chance when Jordan Maguire-Drew set up Rhys Murphy, but his shot from 18 yards missed the target. This chance triggered a sequence of attacks and corners from the Glovers, but Hemel’s backline remained resolute, blocking most of their shots.

Just before the halftime whistle, Hemel’s Arj Krasniqi had a curling effort from the right, which narrowly flew over the bar, Yeovil keeper Will Buse was left grasping at thin air and was relieved to see the ball just clear the crossbar before landing on the roof of the net.

Buse was called into action again, early in the second half, saving a shot from Joe Iaciofano after a flick from Elias Grant.

With chances becoming scarce for both sides, the Glovers had a golden opportunity as Jordan Maguire-Drew’s cross reached Morgan Williams in the box, but he failed to find the target with his shot.

Hemel also had their moments, with Montel McKenzie’s acrobatic effort going over the crossbar, Buse just getting his fingertips to the ball.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 78th minute when a weak pass from Zac Bell to Buse caused the keeper to hurry his clearance as he was quickly chased down by Joe Iaciofano, who had worked his socks off all afternoon, the ball hit him, rebounded goalwards and all he had to do was follow it into the empty net to give the Tudors the lead.

The home side never really looked in any danger after this despite the additional eight minutes that was added on at the end and they managed the game out well to secure the victory.

Hemel: Craig King; Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kyle Ajayi, Chris Smith, Jethro Hanson (Elias Grant 45) George Williams © Joe Re, Arj Krasniqi, Joe Iaciofano (Finlay Corrigan 81) Reece Grant (Tyrese Briscoe 76) Subs not used: Bilal Sayoud, Sam Carman)

Man of the Match: Montel McKenzie Attendance: 1278


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