Hemel Hempstead Town 3 Bath City 1
Vanarama National League South fixture - 15/01/22
Match Report by Allan Mitchell
Hemel fans celebrated their first home win in some 340 days, and it was pointed out that it was an unbelievable 679 days since they last did it in front of their own fans due to the various lockdowns.
The Tudors deserved the three points as they controlled the game for long periods, although Bath had some decent opportunities themselves despite being on the back foot for much of the game.
After a bright start, Hemel created several early chances and just five minutes in, Josh Castiglione did well to intercept a clearance, and he drove into the box at pace, but he was unable to keep his shot down, and it flew high and wide.
Cole Kpekawa had two identical headers tipped over the bar by City keeper Ryan Clarke from successive corners around the fifteen-minute mark before Alex Fletcher missed a rare chance for Bath, firing wide when he really should have hit the target.
Hemel took the lead on 38 minutes when a superb run and pass from Josh Castiglione down the left was driven home powerfully by Gus Scott-Morriss, who was picked out brilliantly as he came in at the back post.
Somewhat against the run of play, City equalised a couple of minutes later when they created an almost carbon copy goal. They broke clear down the right, and the ball was played to the back of the six-yard box where Cody Cooke was waiting unmarked, and he slotted it home to level the scores.
It seemed like another case of déjà vu for Hemel, conceding after looking in total control and the Tudors fans went in for their half-time refreshment, almost accepting that 'this is just what happens at home'.
The second half was much the same as the first, with Hemel pressing but City looking lively on the counter.
Castiglione thought he had restored the lead on 49 minutes when a free-kick from Samir Carruthers was blocked close to the goal, there was a bit of a skirmish, and the ball was fired home, but the linesman waved his flag for an infringement.
Bath's Alex Fletcher had a couple of chances in quick succession, but both times he was thwarted by Craig King, who saved his near post flick and then turned a curling shot from the edge of the box round the post.
Hemel continued to push forward after this, and just past the hour mark, Charlee Hughes produced a bit of magic, evading several tackles as he drove into the box before firing home from a tight angle to put the home side back in front, making it three in three games for the new striker and with City now offering very little the Tudors added a third in the 86th minute, much to the relief of the supporters who were so used to seeing their side concede after they had been on top.
As Bath pushed players forward in search of that equaliser, Alex Addai picked the ball up just inside their half and raced forward before curling it in from 25 yards out, with the aid of a slight deflection to put the game to bed.
The joy on everyone's faces was evident after the game, and although it was an obvious cliché, Manager Mark Jones was more than delighted to get that 'monkey off his sides back' as the Hemel players celebrated in front of the fans at the end.
Jones will be hoping that they can now make a habit of picking up points at home and their form at Vauxhall Road now starts to match the excellent performances shown in away games.
Hemel: King, Scott-Morriss, Nembhard, Morgan-Griffiths, Westbrook, Kpekawa, Carruthers, (Prosper 81), Paul, (Gardiner-Smith 65), Cerulli, (Addai 65), Hughes, Castiglione. Subs not used: Wishart, Hayes
Tudors Man of the Match: Josh Castiglione Attendance 553.