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Match Report: Hemel Hempstead Town 1-2 Welling United

Tudor’s manager Lee Bircham commented after the game that this “was a good performance but a poor result” and the few people currently allowed in the ground felt the same as his side dominated for long periods but were made to pay for the almost customary mistakes at the back, whilst failing to turn chances in to goals.

Photo Credit: Sean Walsh

In an effort to try and tighten things up, Bircham reshuffled the back line, bringing in new signings Liam McDevitt and Nathan Cooper in the centre of the defence. They both made decent debuts and with time together they could be just what the Tudors need.

All of the early play was from the home side as they managed to get ball down the wings to the wide men but all too often the crosses that came in failed to find a Hemel forward.

On the first occasion a good cross found a Tudor the chance went begging. Stephen Duke-McKenna drifted a superb ball across the face of goal, it eluded everyone but found Young at the back post, he probably had slightly more time than he thought and elected to shoot first time, but he was unable to keep it down and it flew into the stand behind the goal from just six yards out.

Welling were offering little at this stage but their No 4 Lyle Della-Verde was looking a threat on the break, when his teammates got the ball to him.

Both Young and Duke McKenna had shots that were saved by Charles-Cook but he didn’t really have to move for either of them and as has been so often the case so far this season, Hemel were made to pay for not capitalising on their superiority.

In what was Welling’s first sustained period of attacking they were given a somewhat fortunate free kick on the edge of the box, just past the half hour mark. Nathan Cooper looked to have won the ball cleanly before both players collided but the referee saw differently, booking Cooper to justify his decision. Anthony Cook drove the ball towards Danny Boness along the ground and it took a nasty bobble just front of the keeper but he reacted well enough to push it away for a corner.

Corners and free kicks have been Hemel’s nemesis this season but they looked to have cleared the danger out to the right, however they failed to stop another cross coming in, this should have still been dealt with but a poor header clear only found an unmarked Ade Shokunbi who showed how it should be done, driving powerfully home from the edge of the box.

It was a familiar story for the Tudors, trying to get back into a game after conceding a soft goal but they kept at it, still creating chances up until the break. Chris Paul saw his shot deflected wide and right on the half time whistle, Charles–Cook had to dive full length to push Bateman’s effort wide.

The second half saw Hemel continue where they left off, pushing forward and they deservedly equalised on 51 minutes. The lively Duke-McKenna whipped in a cross from the right after Welling were also guilty of some poor defending from a corner, Matt Bateman got his head to it and it took a deflection off Olagunju which took it past the keeper.

It was just the start the Tudors needed but they almost conceded straight away after Welling forced a corner, once again it was only half cleared and Shokunbi smashed the ball in first time from close range, but Boness pulled off a superb point blank save, blocking it one handed.

This was a wakeup call that the Tudors should have heeded but just five minutes later, the dangerous Della-Verde was given too much time and space 20 yards out. There looked little danger but he spotted Boness off his line and with the wind behind him, looped the ball over the keepers despairing dive and into the net to restore Welling’s lead.

There were still chances for Hemel after this but they just didn’t work the keeper enough, Paul had an effort blocked and new signing Omar Rowe completely missed his shot from just inside the box after coming on as sub. Jake Evans had an opportunity from a free kick late on but against the now driving wind and rain the ball took off and over the bar.

In the end a disappointing defeat that was hard to take and the performance and effort deserved at least a point from the game but the players have to pick themselves up with an away fixture at Hampton and Richmond on Tuesday evening as the fixtures continue to come thick and fast.

Hemel: 1: Danny Boness 2: Gus Scott-Morriss 3: Luke Pennell 4: Jake Howells © 5: Liam McDevitt 6: Nathan Cooper 7: Stephen Duke-McKenna (Omar Rowe) 18: Chris Paul 9: Matt Bateman (Jake Evans) 10: JJ Lacey (Bernard Christie) 11: Reggie young. Subs not used: Ryan Kinnane, Dean Snedker (gk)

Tudors Man of the Match: Jake Howells – a welcome return to form from the Hemel skipper.


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