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Oxford City 2-2 Hemel Town

Vanarama National League South

12/11/22 Match report by Allan Mitchell Most Tudors fans would have taken a point from this fixture before the start of the game as we have an awful record at the Raw Charging Stadium in recent years. City are a side that have always played good football and their intent was clear from the start as they played the ball around, looking to build patiently. Hemel couldn’t get hold of it in the first ten minutes as City kept possession well without really creating anything of note. Indeed, it was the Tudors who could have gone in front on 11 minutes when Josh Castiglione and Luke Holness combined well to set up Dara Dada who saw his shot saved by Ben Dudzinski in the Oxford goal.

Hemel started to press City a bit more as the half progressed and it was proving effective as the home side started making a few errors in their attempts to pass the ball out from the back. Harris O’Connor brought another save out of Dudzinski

Hemel took the lead when the lively Luke Holness received the ball on the edge of the box, he took a touch and fired it goalwards, it took a slight deflection of a defender which was enough to take it away from Dudzinski and into the back of the net on 25 minutes.

This seemed to knock City out of their stride somewhat and Hemel continued to threaten, with Holness and O’Connor both going close.

The Tudors looked to be going in at the break well worth their goal advantage but there was a lot of injury time being played due to a couple of earlier stoppages and completely out of the blue, City equalised, well into the stoppage time. Josh Parker received the ball just inside the Hemel half and drove forward, Hemel’s backline were expecting him to pass it out wide but he had other ideas, launching a superb shot past Craig King from all of 30 yards. The Tudor Army, who were out in force for this fixture were fearing the worst when the second half kicked off but Hemel didn’t look to have been affected by the setback and continued to press hard. Holness did well on the edge of the box, turning sharply before firing in a shot that just flew wide.

Then on 58 minutes Hemel regained the lead. Jernade Meade made a superb run down the left and drove to the byline before pulling the ball across to Josh Castiglione who arrived at the near post at pace, he controlled the ball with one touch before tucking it home superbly.

It was no more than Hemel deserved and they enjoyed a period of dominance after this, with City struggling to get the ball out of their own half.As always, you need to turn this dominance into goals and despite a couple of close calls the game remained at 2-1. Like the first half, with the home side looking short on ideas they found an equaliser at the right time when a quick break down the left saw the ball arrive at the feet of Aaron Williams-Bushell who had swopped from the right to the left, he cut into the box, skipped a couple of tackles before sliding the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-2, very much against the run of play.

With 20 minutes left, both sides cancelled each other for a period before City started to force a bit of late pressure. The final ten minutes saw Hemel camped in their own half and they conceded a number of free kicks in dangerous positions.

To their credit they defended well although there was a close call from one of these on the edge of the box in the final minute. Josh Ashby stepped up but saw his attempt superbly saved by Craig King after it had taken a wicked deflection off the wall. There was still time for a late effort from Brooklyn Ilunga but Dudzinski also saved well and in the end a point apiece was probably a fair reflection on the game, with both sides having periods of dominance and Mark Jones said after the game that although he was happy with the point, he was slightly disappointed with the result after being in front on two occasions.

Hemel: King, O’Connor, Meade, Lelan, Roberts, Poku (Brown 60) Dada, Morgan-Griffiths, Ilunga, Castiglione, Holness (Obi 80) Subs not used: Eleftheriou, Holt, Bojaj.

Tudors Man of the Match: Jernade Meade.


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