Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Wealdstone 0
Hemel finally buried the Wealdstone “Hoodoo” by grabbing all three points in a tense and competitive derby on a very warm evening at Vauxhall Road.
This was the Stones third game in six days so the conditions were always going to be tough for them but to their credit they really pushed the Tudors all the way and they had the first real chance after just ten minutes when a Danny Green header was saved by Laurie Walker. The visitors were enjoying good periods of possession and restricted Hemel to long distance efforts that were easily dealt with by Jonathan North. David Pratt was showing no signs of fatigue for Wealdstone and he must have thought he had given them the lead on the half hour mark when his powerful shot appeared to be heading for the corner of the net until Walker reacted superbly tipping the ball out for a corner.
The second period saw Hemel step their game up somewhat and they had two early chances. Lloyd Doyley arrived unmarked at the back post but his header bounced into the ground and flew wide and then the normally reliable North miscued a clearance straight to Karl Oliyide who rounded the keeper but his shot was blocked by a back tracking defender.
The game changed in a matter of minutes just past the hour when Mathew Whichelow brilliantly met a cross from the left, taking the shot first time with the outside of his boot from a very tight angle but as the ball powered towards the top corner, Tudors keeper Laurie Walker somehow managed to get a hand on it and deflected it over the bar. After this escape Hemel took full advantage by taking the lead just a minute later when Scott Shulton, playing at full back in this game, managed to break down the left before crossing to David Moyo who’s first time shot hit the post before rebounding back to Skipper Jordan Parkes who wasn’t going to miss this chance and he gleefully drove the ball past North to make it 1 – 0. The home side really pressed forward after this and probably should have added to their tally. Doyley had a chance from a corner but he couldn’t get his effort on target and Parkes thought he had scored his second when he fired in a shot from the edge of the area. The ball curled goalwards with North rooted to the spot but it just went the wrong side of the post, much to the Wealdstone keeper’s relief. Parkes then met a Stuart McCall cross but once again the ball went wide and David Moyo had a good effort saved with the clock ticking down.
Tudors fans were starting to fear the worse as they saw their side fail to get that all important second goal and with recent history showing lots of late goals in this fixture, hearts were very much in mouths as Wealdstone forced a very late corner. North joined his teammates as the ball was fired across and he almost got a head onto it but it dropped kindly for Hemel and as it was cleared the final whistle blew.
This result puts Hemel another step closer to the Play Offs and effectively ended Wealdstones slim chances of joining them.
Hemel : 1: Laurie Walker 2: Lloyd Doyley 3:Joe Howe 4: Jordan Parkes © 5:Darren Ward 6: Matt Saunders 7: James Kaloczi 8: Scott Shulton 9: David Moyo (14: Will Hoskins) 10: Herschel Sanchez Watt (16: Alex Osborn) 11: Karl Oliyide (Stuart McCall) Subs not used 12: Michael Cain 17: Danny Boness. Attendance 733 Man of the Match: Laurie Walker.