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Tudors 1 - 3 Saints

Vanarama National League South 26th December 2022

Match report by Allan Mitchell

There was a bumper crowd attending this Boxing Day fixture, which has become a welcome addition to the Christmas calendar in recent years.

City were in fine form whilst Mark Jones Tudors were still struggling to find that consistency and the result reflected that and whilst the final scoreline somewhat flattered the visitors, they probably just about deserved the points.

Jones reflected after the game that his side just cannot win games if they are conceding three goals and this was the second home game in succession that they had done this.

It proved to be Jones last involvement for the club as Chairman David Boggins decided that the results this season simply weren’t good enough and the club announced a few days later that the manager had left by mutual consent.

His replacement, former Braintree Town boss Brad Quinton, has the unenviable task of taking his new side to St Albans on New Year’s Day for the return fixture but the Tudors managed a 3-1 win at Clarence Park last season so he’ll be hoping to repeat that result.

As for this Boxing Day game, City got off to the perfect start, scoring after just 3 minutes when a sleepy Hemel backline were caught out by a simple pass over the top, City skipper Shaun Jeffers rarely misses these opportunities and made no mistake, tucking the ball past the advancing Craig King, much to the delight of the Saints fans behind the goal.

Hemel recovered from this set back and could have equalised a few minutes later when Dara Dada cut inside from the left before firing in a shot that beat Dylan Berry all hands up but it crashed against the underside of the bar before bouncing clear.

The rest of the first half became a bit scrappy with neither side really threatening and the visitors went in at the break a goal to the good.

The second half saw Hemel step up their efforts and they deservedly equalised in the 56th minute when City failed to clear a corner, it dropped to Dara Dada on the edge of the box and he fired it goalwards where Elliot Romain was on hand to divert it into the corner, keeping up his impressive goal scoring record since arriving on loan from Ebbsfleet.

Dada then saw another shot drift just wide on the hour mark as Hemel now looked the more likely to go on and win the game.

That all changed in the 64th minute when, somewhat against the run of play City went in front again, there looked little danger as the Tudors took a goal kick but they lost possession and ex Tudor Zane Banton wasted no time in driving in from the left before firing home from the edge of the box.

This seemed to really knock the stuffing out of Hemel and the Saints sensed their opportunity by adding a third in the 73rd minute, when another mistake at the back gave possession back to City and it was Banton again who fired home from range, Craig King appeared to be unsighted as the ball crept inside the post.

The Tudors never really looked like getting back into the game after this and City held out comfortably to take all three points and further strengthen their playoff ambitions, whilst Hemel slip rather precariously towards the lower end of the table.

It all proved too much for the Chairman as Jones was relieved of his duties and the club now enters new era under Brad Quinton and his management team. He will be hoping he can get a talented squad playing more consistently and moving up the table as soon as possible. Hemel have played a number of games more than a lot of the sides in and around them so some quick results will be needed to push them away from the bottom four.

Hemel: Craig King; Kyle O’Connor-Ajayi (Andrew Eleftheriou 71) Jernade Meade, Jack Westbrook, Kory Roberts, Brooklyn Ilunga (Luke Holness 74); Godfrey Poku, Dara Dada, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths, Josh Castiglione; Elliott Romian. Subs not Used: Bayley Brown, Gianni Crichlow, Florent Bojaj.

Attendance: 1359 Tudors Man of the Match: Jack Westbrook.


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