Hemel Hempstead 1 Hampton and Richmond Borough 1
It was a share of the spoils at Vauxhall Road in a game that matched the conditions, grey and rather dull.
H & R had most of the possession in a poor first half, but both keepers were rarely tested with only a couple of long range efforts to deal with. It was almost a surprise when a goal came and it was the home side who took the lead on 38 minutes when a corner was only half cleared to Rob Sinclair, he looked over his shoulder and then superbly flicked the ball back to Jordan Parkes who hadn’t been picked up and he had time to wait for the ball to bounce before driving it home.
The visitors had a couple of half chances before the break but they just lacked that cutting edge and the Tudors went in a goal to the good.
The second half very much mirrored the first with Hemel on the back foot and unable to get their normal passing game together but Hampton, despite all their possession, rarely looked like getting back into the game. They forced a couple of corners in quick succession but they were dealt with easily and although Hemel weren’t creating much themselves they looked comfortable at the back.
However on 76 minutes the increasing pressure finally paid off and it was no more than the visitors deserved. It came from a somewhat soft free kick in the middle of the park that was taken quickly, Hemel’s back line were slow to react and Craig Dundas managed to find space on the edge of the box and wasted no time getting a shot away, the ball just evading Laurie Walkers outstretched hand and the post. After this they looked as they would end up winning the game and when former Tudor Karl Oliyide came on as a sub the script was written for him to get a winner but it wasn’t to be and Hemel could have pinched it themselves towards the end when Scott Shulton raced clear, evading a couple of tackles, he had players inside of him but elected to shoot, going for power rather than placement and the ball just curled away and into the crowd.
After the game I caught up with The Tudors Manager, Joe Deeney who said “it was just one of those games, it was all a bit flat and his side just couldn’t find another gear, which was in contrast to Thursday’s training session which looked sharp and lively. Credit was due to H & R who set out their stall to press us at all times and they were probably slightly unfortunate not to have come away with all three points”
I asked him if he was any closer to adding to his squad and he replied “I have been looking at players since I came in and I came close to getting a couple in this week, a forward and a midfielder but it’s a difficult time of year to do business as most players are on contracts and their clubs don’t want to let them go. The forward I was looking at was almost in the bag but his club has had a couple of injuries recently so they weren’t going to allow him to leave. All very frustrating but we will get there, it’s a long term plan but we just do not want this season to fizzle out, we are only 8 points of the play-offs and that remains our ambition. The cup run is a nice distraction but it will add to an already congested fixture list over the next month or so.
I’m still hopeful of adding to the squad and have the full backing of the Chairman so be assured that we will be making every effort to get the right players in. It’s another big game next week down at Hungerford and we will be preparing fully for that this week”
Hemel : Laurie Walker 7 Joe Howe 7 Frankie Musonda 8 Jordan Parkes © 7 Darren Ward 7 Ismail Yakubu 7 Jack Snelus 7 (Steve Cawley 6) Scott Shulton 7 Sanchez Watt 7 Rob Sinclair 7 Kyle Connolly 7 Subs not used: James Kaloczi, Connor Tomlinson, Oliver Swain, George Paulin.
Referee Jack Packman. Tudors Man of the Match : Frankie Musonda.