Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Chelmsford City 2
Vanarama National League South 02/04/22
Match Report by Mitch
It’s never a dull moment at Vauxhall Road these days. However, Chelmsford will feel they missed a real opportunity to grab all three points after squandering a two-goal lead against a weakened Hemel side who had several players missing through injury and suspension.
City dominated the first half, and after having a couple of decent chances, they took the lead through Charlie Sheringham after 10 minutes. After finding himself in space from a corner, he turned and powered the ball home from close range.
Hemel could not get their game together and failed to get a shot on target in the first 45 minutes. City created several opportunities, with ex-Tudor Sheringham guilty of missing the target with two headers.
Tom Blackwell was causing havoc down the left, and he almost added a second when he broke from the halfway line. As he lined up his shot, a Hemel defender just managed to slide across and block his effort.
They had another opportunity just before half-time when the Tudors conceded a free-kick right on the edge of the box and central to the goal.
Sheringham stepped up and curled it around the wall, but it lacked power, and Craig King saved easily.
The second period saw an improvement from the home side, and they finally had an attempt on goal in the 48th minute when an excellent run and cross by Josh Castiglione was met by Alfie Cerulli, who got in front of his marker, hitting the crossbar with his half volley.
Blackwell had a superb game for Chelmsford, and he forced Craig King into a good save just before Cole Kpekawa had Hemel’s first effort on target when he met a corner with his head, but it went straight into the keeper’s arms.
City always looked dangerous on the counter, and they went further in front when the excellent Blackwell raced down the left before crossing to Matt Rush, who slotted home from close range on 70 minutes.
That looked like it would be the goal that put the game to bed as Hemel hadn’t really threatened the Clarets up to this point, but then, somewhat out of the blue, they pulled one back.
A corner came in from the left, and Hamilton Bunga rose to head into the six-yard box. Charlie Hughes, who had come on for the Tudors after a spell out with injury, swivelled on the spot and drilled the ball home on 74 minutes to put them back into the game. City complained to the officials as they felt Hughes was offside, but they stood firm and gave the goal, with the video highlights confirming he was indeed onside.
After seven straight defeats on the bounce, City were starting to look somewhat nervous at the back, and Hemel pressed, forcing another corner, sensing that they could get back on level terms; this time, it came in from the right, and Pierre Fonkeu rose unchallenged to head home the equaliser on 81 minutes.
If the Hemel faithful thought they would now go on and win the game, the visitors had other ideas and responded superbly in the last 10 minutes, aided by the referee finding a mysterious six minutes of injury time.
Blackwell (twice), Matt Rush and Dara Dada were thwarted by some brilliant goalkeeping from Craig King in the dying moments as Chelmsford piled forward. In the end, the home fans were relieved to hear the final whistle, accepting the hard-earned point that had looked pretty remote after 70 minutes.
Hemel: King; Bunga, Wishart, Westbrook, Kpekawa; Morgan-Griffiths, Paul, Gardiner-Smith (Hughes 60) Castiglione; Cerulli, Fonkeu.
Subs not used: Rosner, Gruszczynski, Holt, Saunders.
Match Rating 3/5 Attendance: 582 Tudors Man of the Match: Craig King