Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Oxford City 1
Hemel nabbed the points but were made to work extremely hard for them and Oxford can consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken something away after they dominated possession for long periods of the game.
The first half saw City take the game to the home side but too often their final pass let them down. The Tudors, with their new management team of Darren Ward and Jordan Parkes watching, were content to attack on the counter and they looked dangerous when they did.
They took the lead after 26 minutes when a corner wasn’t just dealt with, after two blocked shots the ball finally fell to James Kaloczi on the edge of the box and he fired home past a crowd of players.
Just after the half hour mark Hemel went two up when another break saw Steve Cawley race down the right and with City stretched he crossed to an unmarked Phil Roberts who made no mistake from close range.
Oxford continued to make chances of their own and Laurie Walker saved superbly when McEachran was put clean through just before the break, the ball was sent across the face of the goal and was eventually cleared off the line with Hemel’s back line in disarray.
The second period saw Hemel on the back foot as Oxford tried to get back into the game. They seemed quicker to any loose balls and Laurie Walker was called into action on more than one occasion, the in-form keeper keeping his side in front as City pressed forward.
They got the goal they deserved on 68 minutes when Zac McEachran headed home after good work down the right and they missed several chances to equalise before the final whistle blew. There was a real let off when Hemel wasted an attacking free kick, the visitors chased down the clearance and forced Yakubu into an error when he under hit his back pass to Walker, Matt Patterson intercepted, had just the keeper to beat and looked sure to equalise but somehow Walker saved his effort and some after some desperate defending the ball was cleared ensuring Hemel hung on to the points.
That’s two wins in two for the new look Tudors management team but they will be more than grateful to my man of the match Laurie Walker for making sure of the points. The sponsors gave their MOM award to youngster Kavan Cotter who gave an excellent display at right back and he is certainly one to watch this season
At Half time there was a Crossbar Challenge in aid of the Guidedogs.org.uk that raised much needed funds for the Charity with Tudors fan Suny Munn the only participant to hit the crossbar and so winning a bottle of Bubbly ! The Hemel players contributed £150 to the collection for a very worthy cause.
1. Laurie Walker: 9
2. Kavan Cotter : 8
3. Kyle Connolly: 7
4. James Kaloczi: 7
5. Lloyd Doyley 7
6. Ismail Yakubu 7
7. Alex Osborne 7 (16: Calaum Martin 6)
8. Billy Clifford 7 (Jordan Parkes 7)
9. Steve Cawley 8
10. Phil Roberts 7 (Karl Oliyide 7)
11. Spencer McCall 7
Subs not used Tom Hamblin 17: George Paulin
Attendance 425 Man Of the Match (Sponsors) Kavan Cotter