Slough Town 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
Vanarama National League South 18/04/22
Match report by Mitch
The Tudors contributed to their own downfall against a Slough side who somehow managed to go in at half-time a goal to the good without having a shot on target in the first period.
A somewhat subdued beginning saw Hemel make the slightly brighter start but, on eight minutes, conceded a horror goal entirely out of the blue.
They had a throw-in on the right-hand side. Gus Scott-Morriss threw it short to Jack Westbrook, who nodded it back to him, the Tudors full-back laid it back towards goal, but Craig King had moved out to the side, and the ball rolled towards the empty net, King tried to get across, but it clipped the post and rolled over the line to give Slough the lead.
Hemel kept their heads and pressured the Slough goal with Sam Mantom bringing a decent save out of Jonathan North before Chris Paul fired a decent effort over the bar.
The best chance of the half for the Tudors came when Craig Fasanmade did superbly well to break clear of his marker. He honed down on goal, North came out to narrow the angle, and Fasamade’s effort hit the keeper before rebounding out to Charlee Hughes, who fired in from the angle, but North, who has made a habit of frustrating Hemel over the years, got up to save at the near post.
Slough’s first actual effort on goal came in the 28th minute when Matt Lench fired wide from the edge of the box.
There was a real goalmouth scramble minutes later when Hemel had three shots blocked by defenders before the ball was cleared.
A mix up between Joash Nembhard and King almost let Slough in again when they both left the ball for each other on the edge of the box. Lench got in between the two Hemel players. King closed him down enough to block his first shot, but it fell invitingly to the same player who had time to pick his spot, but he fired wide again.
The second half saw manager Mark Jones make a positive sub by bringing on Piere Fonkeu for Chris Paul, going with three up front, and Hemel started to get on top again.
Hughes shot high and wide just before the hour mark, and then came the sucker punch. Slough were awarded a dubious free-kick after Hemel looked to have won the ball just outside the box.
The kick was taken quickly and driven down the right. Wishart managed to put it out for a throw which was fed into the box where it was laid back to an unmarked Josh Jackman, who drilled it past King to give Slough a two-goal advantage.
Things went from bad to worse a couple of minutes later when Wishart was dismissed for a foul on the halfway-line, he took a heavy touch, and as he went to block Jackman’s attempted interception, he caught the Slough full-back with his follow-through.
He looked to have got there first, but his foot landed on top of the ball, causing him to catch Jackman high on the shin.
There was only going to be one winner after this, and despite the ten men working hard to get back into the game, they rarely threatened North’s goal. Sub Alfie Cerulli had two decent efforts blocked in quick succession late on, but that was as close as they came.
King could consider himself slightly fortunate after trying to shepherd the ball out in the corner. However, he was dispossessed and tripped the player as he headed towards the goal, the referee only producing a yellow card, and the resulting free-kick was fired over the bar.
There was still time for Hemel to see another player sent off when Cole Kpekawa saw red for appearing to strike Ben Harris off the ball.
Both players gave each other some verbals before Kpekawa took matters into his own hands.
The linesman flagged, and after a brief conversation, Kpekawa was sent from the field. With only a couple of minutes of added time left, it didn’t affect Hemel too much as the game was already gone, but it gives Jones some serious selection problems going into the run-in with both players likely to receive three-match bans.
In the end, it was a disappointing day for the Tudors’ faithful, who had once again turned out in numbers to support their side, and it’s a result that all but ends any play-off ambitions.
Hemel: King, Scott-Morriss, Wishart, Westbrook, Kpekawa, Nembhard, Morgan-Griffiths, Paul (Fonkeu 45), Mantom, (Gardiner-Smith 80), Fasnamade, (Cerulli 85), Hughes. Subs not used: Bunga, Saunders.
Attendance 744 Tudors Man of the Match: Dominic Morgan-Griffiths – never gave up and covered every inch of the ground.