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Tudors beyond unlucky not to take anything from Concord

Concord Rangers 1 Hemel Hempstead Town 0

Vanarama National League South 04/09/2021

Match Report by Allan Mitchell

Hemel took the relatively short trip to Canvey Island to take on Concord, who had made a decent start to the season, sitting in the play-off positions, which was in stark contrast to the Tudors who found themselves bottom of the table with zero points from their five opening games.

Canvey has never been a happy hunting ground for Hemel, and so it proved again, but they can consider themselves unlucky not to have gained at least a point from this encounter.

Manager Lee Bircham made several changes to his lineup, bringing in new loanee Liam Bennett, who arrived from Cambridge United and welcomed back Dejon Noel-Williams upfront.

Also on the bench was club skipper Sam Mantom for the first time this season.

After the Tudors made a bright start, it was almost no surprise when Concord scored with their first effort at goal after just 8 minutes.

Hemel’s backline have been very generous to their opponents so far this season, and once again, they failed to pick up Danny Green, who drove into an empty space before planting the ball into the bottom corner.

Hemel’s heads didn’t drop to their credit, and they took the game to Rangers after this setback.

James Kaloczi managed to get on the end of a half-cleared corner. Still, he could only shoot straight at the keeper who saved comfortably and then, probably the chance of the match saw Dominic Morgan-Griffiths arrive at the far post, unmarked to meet a James Dobson cross, but he managed to hit the bar from just a couple of yards out as he came in at pace. However, he looked to have connected too well with the ball, and the power took it onto the bar and away.

Hemel were now very much on top, forcing a series of corners without really troubling Myles Roberts in the home side goal.

Concord finally got their act together as the half drew to a close, and they themselves forced several corners, but some good defending kept them at bay, and the teams went in at the break with Rangers still a goal to the good.

The second period was dominated by the visitors who kept the ball well and created a number of opportunities. Ky Marsh-Brown tried to curl an effort past Roberts early on, but he hit it too close to the keeper, making the save easy. Cole Kpekawa then skied a glorious chance over the bar when he arrived in space to meet a well-worked free-kick just before the hour mark.

There was an appeal for a penalty when a Concord player appeared to block a cross with his hand, but the referee waved the appeals away.

Sam Mantom then replaced Stephen Gleeson and immediately made an impact with his work rate and accurate passing.

The pass of the game, however, came from an unlikely source when keeper Nick Hayes saw JJ Lacey in space and launched an inch-perfect ball to the onrushing forward, Lacey took the ball round the keeper and as he lined his shot up, with the goal gaping a Concord defender did superbly to cut across and just take the ball off his foot before he could roll it into the net.

Lacey and Noel-Williams both had good efforts saved by Roberts, and then Lacey was tripped as he drove into the box, the referee deciding it was just outside the area with the video highlights suggesting it was just inside.

From the well-worked free-kick, the ball laid back to Mantom, who fired in a shot but once again, it was close to Roberts, and he pushed the ball away much to the frustration of the travelling Tudor Army.

As the final whistle went, several Concord fans accepted that their side had been somewhat fortunate to have escaped with all three points, but the result lifted them into third place, with the Tudors still rooted to the bottom.

All in all, a much better performance with Gus Scott-Morriss and Sam Mantom pointing out that it’s up to the players to get them moving up the table, and they would do everything to ensure that happens over the coming weeks, please be patient because they are confident things will start to look up.

Next up is a home game vs Eastbourne Borough, who have had a mixed start to the season, so hopefully, it’s a chance to get some much-needed points on the table.

Hemel: Nick Hayes, Gus Scott-Morriss © Liam Bennett, Stephen Gleeson (Sam Mantom), Cole Kpekawa, James Kaloczi, Josh Castiglione (JJ Lacey) Dominic Morgan-Griffiths, Dejon Noel-Williams, Ky Marsh-Brown, James Dobson (Haile) Subs not used: Cooper, Williams.

Tudors Man of the Match: Cole Kpekawa


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