Match report by Allan Mitchell - Photography by Dan Finill
Hemel thoroughly deserved to leave a rainy Somerset with all three points but it could and probably should have been a far more convincing scoreline than it was. The first hour of the contest was dominated by the visitors on a difficult surface that caused the players to lose their footing after some heavy showers before and during the game. Hemel had already had two good chances before they took the lead on 13 minutes when the lively Charlee Hughes latched onto a through ball that a Taunton defender completely misjudged, allowing the Tudors front man a clear run on goal, he drew the keeper out before tucking it past him for his second goal in two games.
Taunton almost scored with their first attempt a couple of minutes later when a cross from the left was cleverly flicked on by Ross Stearn but it flashed wide of the post.
On 20 minutes, a long range effort from Hughes was well saved by Bycroft as Hemel continued to press, although Taunton did have the ball in the net when a free kick was driven into the six yard box, but the referee rightly blew for a foul after Craig King had been completely flattened by a forward as he went to catch the ball. After some lengthy treatment King was able to continue but he was clearly in some discomfort and he struggled throughout the rest of the game with what looked like a hip injury.
Bycroft came to Taunton’s rescue again with a superb one handed save from a Reece Grant drive, the keeper just managing to tip the ball around the post. The resulting corner was only half cleared to Dom Morgan-Griffiths who saw his shot deflect for another corner. Josh Williams took it and it was returned to him on the edge of the box via another poor clearance and the Tudors full back wasted no time in curling it straight into the bottom corner to extend Hemel’s lead.
Hemel looked in complete control as the half drew to a close although Ollie Chamberlin brought the best out of Craig King just before the break when he hit a fierce shot that the Tudors keeper did well to parry away to safety.
The second half saw the visitors continue to push forward. George Williams shot just over before Reece Grant’s close range effort was saved, the ball was half cleared to the edge of the box where Josh Williams was waiting and he crashed his shot off the crossbar.
Montel McKenzie was then superbly sent clear via a lovely back heel by Charlee Hughes and he and Grant had a two on one breakaway that really should have seen Hemel go three up, he sent the ball through to Grant but Bycroft and a Taunton defender did enough to put a couple of blocks in and the chance came and went.
The home side made three substitutions that didn’t go down well with the home crowd but it has to be said that the introduction of the giant Nick McCootie certainly gave the Hemel back line something to think about and they reduced the arrears on 64 minutes when one of those subs, Dylan Morgan smashed home a loose ball after a penalty appeal had been turned down.
The home side huffed and puffed and the Tudors faithful felt slightly apprehensive, especially after seeing their side have so many chances but Craig King was well protected by the players in front of him who defended well, aware he was unable to kick the ball with any confidence because of his earlier injury. The final minutes were slightly nervier than they needed to be but Taunton rarely threatened and Hemel held on to take the points back to Hertfordshire.
Hemel: King: McKenzie, J. Williams, Roberts, Hill, Ajayi; G. Williams (Westbrook), Morgan-Griffiths, Castiglione; Hughes (Mukendie), Grant (Owusu)
Attendance 719 Tudors Man of the Match: Charlee Hughes