Hemel Hempstead Town 1-0 Bath City Vanarama National League South -
6th December 2022 Match Report by Allan Mitchell
There was a time when we couldn’t buy a win against Bath City but that has thankfully changed in the last couple of seasons and the tables have been turned somewhat and The Romans must be wondering how they came away from this fixture with nothing to show for their efforts. To Hemel’s credit they defended stoutly against a side who moved the ball quickly and had a lot of possession throughout. The first half saw Bath press forward from the start but Hemel still created a number of chances themselves, mainly on the counter attack. David Saunders, who has done an excellent job deputising for Craig King, who has had to miss three games due to concussion, was rarely troubled in the first half despite all City’s possession and it was Hemel who eventually broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. Andrew Eletheriou was given the ball out on the right and he whipped in a good looking cross, City centre half, Jack Batten looked favourite to win the head as he towered over Josh Castiglione but Josh just managed to get in front of him as the ball dipped and he flicked on to Elliott Romain who took a touch before driving it past the keeper for his second goal in two games since he arrived on a one month loan from Ebbsfleet.
Romain looks like the striker Hemel have been crying out for this season and Tudors fans will be hoping that he can signed on for a longer period than the initial loan. City could have equalised just before the break when Rex Mannings capitalised on a mistake at the back and raced clear, he drew Saunders out but the Hemel keeper read his intentions and saved superbly to preserve the lead at the interval.
As the sides came out for the second half, Bath upped their game somewhat and having survived the chance just before the break, Hemel rode their luck when Mannings found himself in space just two minutes in, Callum Ebanks managed to break clear down the right before laying the ball across to an unmarked Mannings, he hit it first time and it hit the underside of the bar before bouncing clear.
It was very much a ‘backs against the wall’ situation now as The Romans searched for an equaliser, Ebanks shot wide when he really should have hit the target and he had another effort blocked by Jack Westbrook, there followed a bit of a scramble in the six yard box before it was eventually put out for corner.
David Saunders was called into action just after the hour mark when he saved a good effort from James Morton and he did well to react to a Scott Wilson drive, but he could only parry the ball into the path of Ebanks who tapped it home only to see the linesman flag raised for offside.
As Bath pressed forward in the remaining minutes Hemel did fashion a couple of chances themselves with Dom Morgan-Griffiths firing over the bar and Bayley Brown forcing Josh Gould into a fine save as the clock ticked down.
When the referee finally called a halt to proceedings there was a feeling of relief amongst the Tudors supporters who had braved the cold and it was a welcome three points for Mark Jones side.
Hemel: David Saunders; Andrew Eletheriou, Jernade Meade (Josh Lelan) Jack Westbrook, Kyle Ajayi; Godfrey Poku © Gianni Crichlow (Dara Dada) Dominic Morgan-Griffiths (Bayley Brown) Brooklyn Ilunga; Josh Castiglione, Elliott Romaine. Subs not used: Ogo Obi, Luke Holness, Attendance 275 Tudors Star Man: Elliott Romaine.