Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Havant and Waterlooville 0
Vanarama National League South 09/02/2021
Match report by Allan Mitchell
Pre-season promotion favourites and big-spending Havant will be glad to see the back of Hemel after the Tudors completed the double over the Hampshire side with an excellent performance at Vauxhall Road.
With snow falling for most of the 90 minutes on a bitterly cold evening Hemel took the game to the visitors who were unable to find an answer to Lee Bircham’s hard-working outfit who just never let their opponents settle.
B.J Christie gave Hemel the lead early in the game after Samir Carruthers had sent Sam Mantom away down the line, he pulled the ball back to the penalty spot and Christie tucked it away to give the Tudors the perfect start.
Havant became increasingly frustrated at not being able to get a foothold in the game and Christie was giving their backline a torrid time. They received two yellow cards in as many minutes in an attempt to stop the big striker as tempers frayed leading up to the interval.
Hemel started the second half the same way they did the first by scoring a goal via a textbook counter-attack. Carruthers again started the move winning the ball deep inside his own half; he sent a ball down the line to Christie who outpaced his marker before laying the ball across the face of the goal to an unmarked Reggie Young who tucked the ball home.
Havant finally woke from their slumber and started to push Hemel back. Kyle Ajayi did well to intercept a ball that flashed across the six-yard box with a Havant striker waiting for a tap in.
Nick Hayes, who has made a great impression between the sticks, then saved superbly to preserve the Tudors clean sheet.
Having weathered the Hawks brief revival, JJ Lacey struck the post and then Carruthers, who was having his best game so far in a Hemel shirt, nearly made it three, but his chip sailed just wide of the post.
Christie just failed to get on the end of another Young cross as Hemel piled forward.
Havant were now offering very little, and Hemel looked like they would add to their total, but in the end, they settled for the two and a clean sheet to boot to cap an excellent evenings work.
Tudors boss Bircham was full of praise for his team, saying that this result had been coming and they now needed to build on this performance, starting at Hungerford on Saturday.
Hemel: Nick Hayes, Gus Scott-Morriss, Nathan Cooper, Kyle Ajayi, Rene Street, Sam Mantom © Chris Paul, Samir Curruthers, Jonathan Lacey, Reggie Young, Bernard Christie. Subs: Ryan Blackman (Paul), Matt Bateman, Danny Webb (Christie) David Saunders, Ryan Kinnane
Tudors Man of the Match B.J Christie.
Photo by Sean Walsh