Hemel Hempstead Town 2 -0 Hampton and Richmond Match report by Allan Mitchell
Hemel just edged a tight encounter at Vauxhall Road that looked like it was heading for stalemate, with both teams struggling to create chances. It all changed on the hour mark when new Tudors Boss Brad Quinton made two substitutions which altered the course of the game. The first period was a dour affair but both sides had their keepers to thank for keeping the scores level.
Alan Julian in the Beavers goal reacted superbly to get a hand to a Jernade Meade free kick, pushing it around the post, just as it looked like it was heading for the top corner and Craig King proved his worth by tipping an excellent effort from Connor Kurran-Browne wide of the goal. Both sides were guilty of lots of miss-placed passes in the first half and the game lacked any real flow as a result.
Hampton and Richmond controlled the early period of the second half and were unlucky not to take the lead after a clever corner kick almost caught Hemel out, it was played short before being laid back to Alfy Whittingham on the edge of the box who struck it first time and it just skimmed over the bar. It looked like one of those games that would be decided by whoever managed to break the deadlock and it was
The Tudors who did just that just moments after that double substitution. On 64 minutes, the ball was fed down the right channel and the H&R fullback looked to have it covered but he allowed it to bounce and Luke Holness was onto it in a flash, he fired a shot in from the angle that Julian did well to block but the rebound bounced up kindly and the Hemel striker headed home, despite the best efforts of a Beavers defender who had got back onto the line.
The goal did what goals always do and changed the game, giving Hemel the lift they needed and they took control, pressing the visitors back whilst restricting them to the odd counter attack. Kyle Ajayi forced Julian into another good save on 71 minutes and shortly after Hemel made the game safe. A poor throw in from H&R was seized upon by Charlee Hughes who quickly fed the ball through to Holness, his initial shot was blocked and Josh Castiglione was there to drive in a an effort from the edge of the box, Julian saved well but Hughes had followed up and he tucked it home to make it 2-0.
It was a welcome goal for Charlee who has been out for a long period with a thigh injury and he duly celebrated with the Tudors Army behind the goal. There were a couple of late chances at either end, King saving well from Whitingham and Holness saw his shot deflected wide at the death but in the end it was a welcome three points for Hemel and a first win under the new Brad Quinton era.
Hemel: Craig King; Andrew Eletheriou, Jernade Meade (Kane Lewis 60) Jack Westbrook, Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi, Josh Hill; Godfrey Poku, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths, Dara Dada (Luke Holness 60) Josh Castiglione (Bayley Brown 83) Charlee Hughes. Subs not Used: Florent Bojaj, David Saunders (gk) Attendance 441 Tudors
Man of the Match: Charlee Hughes.