Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Solihull Moors 5
The Tudors FA Trophy Run was ended with a thump on a wet and windy evening at Vauxhall Road.
The final score was harsh on the Tudors as they more than matched their opponents for periods of the game but in the end, were made to pay as they tried to chase down the deficit in the second period.
After Saturday’s fixture had been postponed despite the efforts of over 60 volunteers, Hemel welcomed their high flying visitors from the National League Premier and they had hopes of progressing, after dispatching Eastleigh from the same division in the first round. Solihull made several changes from the side that lost in their last league game but it was still a very strong line up that faced the Tudors.
The visitors showed no signs of taking things easy against their lower league opposition and after some early pressure they took the lead after just six minutes when a powerful run and cross down the left was swept home by Terry Hawkridge after Hemel’s back four failed to deal with the ball that was driven across the six yard box. With the Tudors struggling to cope with Moors power and work rate, the home fans started to fear the worse and they were relieved when a second goal was disallowed for off side after 20 minutes. After this Hemel started to get more of the ball with the excellent Sanchez Watt running at the giant Solihull back four, who had power and strength but were slow on the turn and certainly didn’t enjoy Watts burst’s into the final third.
There were one or two moments when the experience of the full time side showed as they used somewhat dubious tactics in stopping the Hemel forward who was starting to give them problems. Jack Snelus had Hemel’s first real chance after 24 minutes but he delayed his shot and it was blocked. After another foul close to the edge of the box, Skipper Jordan Parkes drove his free kick across the six yard area, missing the on rushing Tudors forwards and just whistling past the post. Hemel then forced a couple of corners in quick succession, both times Watt forcing Ryan Boot to fumble his shots before they were cleared. A superb flowing move down the right ended up with Watt managing to get in between the two big centre halves before heading onto the post with the keeper beaten.
Parkes, Watt and Joe Howe then combined to set up another chance for Snelus and he hit the ball first time but it just drifted away and past the post. With half time approaching, Hemel looked good value for an equaliser but the game was cruelly taken away from them on the stroke of half time. A poor clearance was seized upon by Nathan Blissett who drove down the left of Hemel’s area, he managed to cut inside into the box and was met by Scott Shulton, who made minimal contact with the Solihull forward, but he made the most of the challenge and went down very easily. The referee saw it as a foul and pointed to the spot and Adi Yussuf stepped up to send Walker the wrong way to give his side a two goal cushion. It was very harsh on the home side and proved to be the turning point in the game. There was still time for Watt to make another break into the box and he appeared to be taken out as he prepared to shoot, but much to the dismay of the Hemel faithful the referee waved away appeals for what looked like a certain penalty.
The second half saw Hemel try and push on, but it always looked as though they would be vulnerable to the counter and Solihull seemed intent on pressing home their advantage. They had a chance almost straight away when Alex Gudger arrived unmarked at the far post after 47 minutes but he drove his wide with the goal gaping. Despite all their efforts Hemel created few chances in this period and went further behind from another quick break, with the excellent Ade Yussuf firing home via Walkers near post just after the hour mark. Steve Cawley managed to escape his markers minutes later and had a decent chance to reduce the arrears but he headed wide after the ball clipped his shoulder. By this stage Hemel looked somewhat demoralised and Solihull made them pay with two late goals from Jermaine Hylton to put a rather flattering look to the scoreline. The first was a toe poke through Yakubu’s legs that deceived Walker and the second was a free header, minutes from time.
In the end it was a lesson in finishing and Solihull look a decent bet to progress all the way in this competition. The final score didn’t really reflect the story of the game but it was a harsh reminder of how tough it is in the National league Premier Division. Hemel still have a way to go before they can compete with the “big boys” but it is still very much a work in progress and they can be proud of their efforts. Its back to league action on Saturday with a tough away trip to Chippenham and Joe Deeney will be hoping to get this result out of their system as quickly as possible and get his side moving back up the table toward the Play Off positions, which with games in hand is still very achievable.
Hemel: Laurie Walker : Frankie Musonda : Joe Howe : Jordan Parkes © Darren Ward : Ismail Yakubu : Sanchez Watt : Scott Shulton (James Kaloczi) : Steve Cawley : Rob Sinclair : Jack Snelus (Leon Lobjoit)
Subs not used : George Paulin : Kavan Cotter : Tom Hamblin.
Tudors Man of the Match : Sanchez Watt Attendance : 438