Hemel Hempstead Town 4 Tonbridge Angels 3
Vanarama National League South 26th March 2022
Match report by Mitch
Hemel edged what can only be described as an astonishing game that saw both sides struggle to gain control for long periods but one that was interspersed with manic moments of poor defending and great finishing.
The Tudors made the perfect start taking the lead on six minutes when Pierre Fonkeu opened his account for the club driving home from just inside the box.
Shortly after, Craig Fasanmade almost made it 2–0 when Sam Mantom put him clear, but he was forced wide, and his shot was blocked.
Mantom then had a chance to double the lead himself from the penalty spot when ex-Tudor Craig Barham-Barrett was adjudged to have blocked the ball with his hands.
It looked somewhat harsh, but another ex-Tudor, Jonathan Henly, saw justice was done when he saved the spot-kick.
A couple of minutes later, Tonbridge levelled when a free-kick on the left was only half-cleared to an unmarked Teddy Perkins, who headed the ball home.
As the game was meandering towards the interval, it burst into life again when Mantom got onto a Gus Scott-Morris cross and headed onto the post; it bounced out and fell kindly to Craig Fasanmade, who tucked it home to give the Tudors a half-time lead.
Tonbridge started the second period on the front foot, and they equalised again on 54 minutes when a hopeful ball into the box from James Taylor mysteriously evaded everyone before nestling into the net and shortly after, the same player hit the post from the edge of the box with King grabbing the rebound.
There followed another period with both sides cancelling each other out before, out of the blue again, Jack Westbrook restored Hemel’s lead on 74 minutes, getting in front of his marker to meet a Josh Castiglione cross.
Fasanmade was sent off after a somewhat harmless looking challenge on Henly.
The Tonbridge keeper made the most of the incident rolling around on the floor, and the referee deemed it worthy of a foul and produced a second yellow card for the unfortunate striker.
Tonbridge took full advantage, equalising from a corner as Hemel tried to regroup, with the excellent Taylor slotting home again after arriving unmarked at the near post.
It now looked as though the visitors were in the ascendancy as they pushed for a winner and forced a succession of corners. Still, in the 94th minute and with most Tudors fans happy to settle for the point at this stage, Hemel broke, and Chris Paul cut inside the box and curled a shot inside the post to make it 4-3.
There was still time for more drama as Hemel ended the game with nine men, with Joash Nembhard receiving a second yellow with the clock showing 95 minutes.
He conceded a free-kick right on the edge of the box, and with everyone holding their breath, Perkins stepped up and drove it over the wall. It looked goalbound, but Scott-Morriss threw himself at the ball, heading over the bar, and the referee called a halt to proceedings, much to the home fans' relief.
Hemel: King, Scott-Morriss, Nembhard, Westbrook, Kpekawa, Castiglione (Wishart 84), Morgan-Griffiths, Paul, Mantom, (Gardiner-Smith 56), Fonkeu. (Cerulli 67), Fasanmade Subs not used: Saunders, Bunga
Attendance 608. Tudors Man of the Match: Chris Paul