Hemel Hempstead Town (Melvin-Lambert pen 28) 1 - 1 Worthing (Pearce 71) Vanarama National League South 24th September 2022
Match Report by Allan Mitchell The points were shared in a very entertaining game at Vauxhall Road and it was a fair result, with both sides having opportunities throughout. The rebels were keen to get pacey winger Lewis White in the game from the off and it was easy to see why as he created a number of problems, getting in behind Hemel’s back line and crossing into the six yard box.
Mark Jones reacted by adjusting his formation from a 5-3-2 to a 4-4-2 which saw Kory Roberts move to right back to try and nulify White's threat. The first real chance came the Tudors way when a free kick on the edge of the box was only half cleared to Roberts who struck it first time but it went high over the bar. Worthing were playing some nice football and a well worked move saw the ball find Sammie McCleod in space and he looked odds on to score but he was thwarted by a desperate block from a Hemel defender. Whilst the visitors were keeping possession well The Tudors always looked dangerous on the counter and it was from one of those breakaways that they took the lead when Brooklyn Ilunga was fouled inside the box as he raced clear down left on 28 minutes. Reading Loanee Nahum Melvin-Lambert stepped up and dispatched the penalty via the inside of the post, with the unlucky keeper getting a hand on it. It was somewhat against the run of play but the Tudor Army were now in full voice after going in front. Aaron Racine could have levelled the scores when a free kick from the left missed everyone before hitting him as he arrived unmarked but it went straight into a grateful Craig King’s arms, the Rebels skipper barely having time to react as the ball fizzed across the face of goal. Hemel thought they had gone two up when Male fumbled a header from Kory Roberts and the rebound was tucked home but the flag went up for offside, Roberts will probably feel he could have done better with the first chance as he had arrived unmarked in six yard box. The second half was an even affair and Hemel probably just edged it on chances, they could have extended their lead in the first minute when a mistake at the back let in Ilunga but he couldn’t find a team mate after racing into the box. Hemel continued to defend well with players throwing themselves in front of the ball and generally keeping Worthing at bay, but they were finally pegged back in the 71st minute. Craig King hadn’t really had any significant shots to deal with up until this point but a superb cross field ball from Kane Wills caught Hemel’s back line pushing up, it was met by Ollie Pearce who smashed it home on the volley from close range at the back post, there was little King could do such was the power that it was struck with. Worthing sensed they could nick the three points after this and pressed Hemel back, forcing a number of corners and King did brilliantly to stop a Joe Rye effort at the near post. Hemel managed to weather the storm and with the clock ticking down, they forced a number of corners themselves. Harrison Male almost gifted the Tudors the points when he passed the ball straight to Dara Dada who hit first time with the keeper now out of his goal but it went well wide. Jack Westbrook must have thought he had won the game in the 92nd minute when he met one of a series of corners with his head but a Worthing defender got up to clear his goal bound header. The visitors managed to create one last chance in the very last seconds when they made a quick break from one of these Hemel corners, the ball found Pearce in a similar position to where he had scored his goal from but this time Kory Roberts managed to get back brilliantly and block his shot signalling the end of an hugely entertaining game, with the spoils shared. Hemel: (4-4-2) King ; O’connor-Ajayi, Meade, Westbrook, Roberts ; Poku Hope, Morgan-Griffiths, Castiglione (Dada 78 – 6) ; Melvin-Lambert (Obi 53 – 6) Ilunga (Lelan 88) Subs not used: Barker, Brown. Referee Liam Corbett. Attendance 572 Match Rating 4/5 Tudors Man of the Match (Sponsors) Brooklyn Ilunga Man of the Match (Mitch) Kyle O’connor-Ajayi.