Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Slough Town 1
This will feel like a point gained for The Tudors as they took to the field with only 11 fit first team players against a decent Slough side who were now finding their feet in this division.
Added to that, interim manager Jordan Parkes stepped down from his role to concentrate on the playing side of his game and took the Captains armband once again. Matt Spring, helped by Academy Director Steve Boone had to stand in for this one fixture, with the prospect of a new manager coming on board in time for the tough away match at Bath City. The club hope to have everything tied up by the end of the week.
Springy and Booney weren’t helped by a crippling injury list that has stretched the Hemel squad to its limit and they had five youngsters on the bench with just a few first team appearances between them.
The first half was largely forgettable as the decent sized crowd huddled together to try and keep warm. Hemel had the better of the chances, whilst Slough enjoyed periods of possession without troubling Laurie Walker too much. Ten minutes in, the first chance of the game fell to Steve Cawley who almost caught the visitor’s keeper Jack Turner out of position, the Tudors front man tried a speculative lob from 30 yards out and Turner was very relieved to see the ball drift over the bar as he raced back to try and get back on his line. The only other real moment worth mentioning came right on half time when a trademark Jordan Parkes corner was whipped in under the crossbar, this time Turner was alive to the threat and he clawed it away just when it looked as though it would curl into the top corner.
The second period saw Slough step up their efforts and as the home side tired they created and missed several decent chances. There were moments for Hemel as they counter attacked, Ty Ward and James Kaloczi came close but it was turning into a proper rear guard battle as the Sky Blue tide just kept pushing forward. In the 80th minute, just when the home fans thought that their team had weathered the storm and the game would end up in a stalemate, Slough scored. A misplaced pass in the centre circle was snapped up and Mathew Stevens was put clear with and Hemel’s backline stretched, he calmly tucked the ball past Walker from an angle, much to the delight of a healthy contingent of away fans.
This looked as though it would ensure the points would end up going back down the M4 as a weary Tudors side didn’t look as though they could get back into the game, but an inspired substitution saw Matteo Mendy introduced and his fresh legs started to cause problems. With just five minutes left a superb ball into the six yard box by James Kaloczi was met by the unmarked Mendy and he headed the ball past Turner, who appeared to get a hand on it but failed to prevent it crossing the line. Mendy’s introduction revitalised Hemel and they could have nicked all three points as they pushed forward with renewed enthusiasm. He had another chance at the death when he found space on the right but Turner got down well to save his shot and that was about it as far as scoring opportunites went, with both sides having to settle for a hard earned point.
So, a welcome point in the end for Hemel and they can take some comfort in the way they earnt it with a real team effort in difficult circumstances.
Hemel 1: Laurie Walker 2:Lloyd Doyley 3:Joe Howe 4:Jordan Parkes © 5Darren Ward 6:Ismail Yakubu 7:Kavan Cotter 8:Ty Ward 9:Steve Cawley 10:Karl Oliyide (12:Matteo Mendy) 11:James Kaloczi. Subs not used 14:Sydney Ibie 15:Sam Murphy 16:Tom Dean 17:George Paulin.
Attendance 468 Man of the Match Lloyd Doyley.