Hemel Hempstead Town 3 East Thurrock United 2
Hemel just edged a tight encounter, winning for the first time in ten outings much to the relief of manager Joe Deeney and the Tudor faithful.
It was never going to be easy as their Essex visitors had won two out of the last three games beating Truro and promotion chasing Billericay and so it proved. The first half was somewhat dour but The Rocks should have been in front at the break as they had the better of the chances and The Tudors can thank keeper, Laurie Walker for keeping them at bay. He made three excellent stops but his best save came when ex Tudor Alex Osborn fired in from the edge of the box, Walker superbly tipping it round the post.
Hemel took the lead after a short spell of pressure when Jordan Parkes and Sanchez Watt combined to set up Arel Amu who tapped home from close range after 40 minutes. It was somewhat harsh on the visitors but the Tudors wont care, having been involved in many games like this recently and been made to pay themselves for not taking their chances.
East Thurrock were reduced to 10 men after 50 minutes when Ibrahim Sori-Diallo was somewhat harshly given a second yellow but rather than hinder them, this seemed to inspire the Rocks and after escaping a near miss when Darren Ward’s shot crashed off the post they scored twice in as many minutes just after the hour mark. They forced a corner after a quick counter and with the Tudors defence guilty of ball watching, Sam Higgins headed home unmarked and then Ricky Hayles did the same, again from a corner with the midfielder arriving unmarked at the back post.
Deeney then introduced new signing Mark Randall, who made an immediate impact, looking very composed in the centre of the park, spreading the ball out with some pin point passes. It was a superb cross field ball from Randall that led to Hemel equalising after 73 minutes when he sent Sanchez Watt clear, he was pulled down in the box by Giddens and Parkes made no mistake from the spot. Then on 83 minutes Parkes scored the winner with a trademark free kick that was deflected past the helpless keeper to give the Tudors a much needed win.
Parkes has now completed his own personal milestone becoming the clubs all-time record goal scorer with 108 goals in total.
Hemel : Laurie Walker 8 Joe Howe 7 (Mark Randall 8) Kyle Connolly 7 Jordan Parkes © 7 Darren Ward 7 Jacques Kpohomouh 8 Kieran Monlouis 7 Frankie Musonda 7 Jason Williams 6 (Daniel Rowe 7) Arel Amu 7 Sanchez Watt 7 Subs not used : Kavan Cotter : Jack Snelus : Danny Boness.
Referee : James Durkin. Attendance 443. Match rating 3/5 Tudors Man of the Match : Jacques Kpohomouh
Joe Deeney was obviously pleased and relieved to have ended the recent barren run but reflected, saying his side have played better and lost this season. He felt that Mark Randall was a big influence on the result and that is why he brought him to the club.
He was very disappointed with the two goals conceded but was pleased the courage and composure shown by the players after this set back, especially sensing the atmosphere in the ground which was becoming one of frustration.
He hope to have Rob Sinclair back next week which will give him a nice selection headache, one that he hasn’t had in recent weeks. Another three points is needed next week and he has every confidence that they will achieve it and start moving back up the table.