Vanarama National League South 23/09/23 Match Report by Allan Mitchell
There were over 1000 supporters at the Focus Community Arena and they witnessed a cracking game of real end to end football and the Tudors extended their unbeaten run to seven, beating one of this season’s much fancied title contenders, Torquay United for the first time in their history.
Hemel could have gone a goal behind after just seven minutes when ex Tudor Aaron Jarvis was given time and space just on the edge of the six yard box but he fired his effort high and wide.
Two minutes later Hemel took the lead, Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi has become a real threat at dead ball situations in recent weeks and he did it again, rising above the Gulls defence to head goalwards, it was half cleared off the line but fell at the feet of new loan signing, Tarrell Whittaker who tucked it home from close range.
Craig King made an excellent save shortly after when Jarvis again found himself unmarked in the box, the Hemel goalminder blocking his effort from close range.
It was end to end stuff in the first period and Alfie Mathews will feel he could have put the home side in front when he met a freekick inside the six yard area, he rose above his marker but just got up too early and the ball ended up dropping onto the roof of the net.
There was a short period of pressure from the visitors around the half hour mark where they forced a series of corners but some good defending and another smart save by King kept them at bay.
Tyrelle Newton forced a decent save out of Gulls keeper, Mark Halstead and the sides went into the break with The Tudors a goal to the good.
Both sides continued to create chances in the second half, with Montel McKenzie just putting a shot past the post on 65 minutes and Torquay made the most of this escape when they equalised moments later. Tom Lapsie broke clear of Hemel’s back line and drove a shot in that Craig King could only parry into the path of Will Jenkins-Davies who slotted the ball home despite the best efforts of Josh Hill on the line.
Just as the game looked as though it was heading for a stalemate, The Gulls went in front with 83 minutes on the clock. It was a rare lapse in concentration at the back for Hemel as they allowed Ross Marshall a free header from a free kick out on the left and he buried the chance.
It looked like this would prove to be the winner and the Gulls fans behind the goal certainly felt that was the case as they announced they were ‘Top of the League’ but the Tudors had other ideas and they were level just two minutes later. A corner was swung in from the right and caused panic and confusion in the Torquay defence, they failed to clear and the ball fell to Miles Judd who fired home from close range.
If that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, Hemel then went and won the game a minute after this when a superb fast flowing move down the right saw McKenzie drive down to the line before picking out Bayley Brown who took it in his stride and smashed it into the top corner.
There was a frustrating 8 minutes of injury time at the end of the game but Hemel saw it out comfortably to take all three points and move into eighth place and just five points off the top of the table.
Hemel: Craig King, Montel McKenzie, Josh Williams, Kyle Ajayi, Josh Hill, George Williams, Alfie Mathews (Bayley Brown) Tarrell Whittaker (Bilal Sayoud) Tyrelle Newton, Miles Judd, Arj Krasniqi (Joe Re) Subs not used: Finlay Corrigan, James Taylor.
Attendace 1077 Tudors Man of the Match: Tyrelle Newton