Herd is spot on as Tudors sink Gosport to move a step closer to the playoffs

Ben Herd scored the winning goal for Hemel Town against Gosport. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Ben Herd scored the winning goal for Hemel Town against Gosport. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

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Ben Herd scored from the penalty spot as Hemel Hempstead Town moved to within one point of the National League South playoff places with a 1-0 win over Gosport Borough at Vauxhall Road this afternoon.

Hemel were good value for their win, with Herd converting from the spot just before half-time after the impressive Morgan Ferrier was brought down in the area.

Ben Herd scored the winning goal for Hemel Town against Gosport. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Ben Herd scored the winning goal for Hemel Town against Gosport. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Gosport created little in reply, and the Tudors comfortably held on for the win to leapfrog their opponents and move to within a point of fifth place, with a game in hand.

Hemel came close to breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute as Graeme Montgomery’s lobbed effort went just over the bar and landed on the roof of the net, before Justin Bennett was denied by a good save from Jamie Butler at the other end soon afterwards.

The two sides looked evenly-matched in the early stages, but Hemel should have gone in front after 26 minutes when Ricky Wellard played a delicate ball through to Ferrier, who could only side-foot his effort tamely at Gosport keeper George Legg.

Ferrier was looking lively for the Tudors and did well to turn in the box and get a shot away, but TJ Cuthbertson was on hand for Gosport to deflect the ball away for a corner.

Graeme Montgomery was a constant threat for Hemel. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Graeme Montgomery was a constant threat for Hemel. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

And it was that man Ferrier who won the penalty for the crucial breakthrough for the Tudors shortly before half-time. The pacy striker burst into the box before being tripped from behind, and Herd made no mistake in coolly chipping home the resulting spot-kick.

It could have been 2-0 minutes later as Ibra Sekajja pounced on a stray Gosport back-pass and played Graeme Montgomery through, but the Hemel midfielder saw his shot bounce back off the foot of the post just before the half-time whistle blew.

Hemel were forced into a double substitution at the interval, with both centre-backs coming off injured, but they looked lively at the start of the second half as Montgomery continued to surge down the left.

Sekajja had a good chance to double the lead on the hour mark as he turned well in the box, but the striker could only fire his effort over the bar from six yards out.

Morgan Ferrier looked dangerous for Hemel but could not find a way to goal. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Morgan Ferrier looked dangerous for Hemel but could not find a way to goal. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Ferrier and Sekajja were working well together up front, and the duo both forced good saves from Legg, with Hemel looking comfortable as Gosport struggled to create much at the other end.

The Tudors now turn their attention towards Monday night’s trip to Wealdstone.

Hemel Hempstead Town: 1 Jamie Butler, 2 Ben Herd (c), 3 Jack Kelly, 4 Adam Bailey-Dennis (12 Oliver Thorne, 45), 5 Reiss Greenidge (14 Mat Mitchel-King, 45), 6 Matt Spring, 7 Ricky Wellard, 8 Harry Hickford (15 Kyle Connolly, 73 mins), 9 Morgan Ferrier, 10 Ibra Sekajja, 11 Graeme Montgomery. Subs not used: 16 Joseph Findlay-Bada, 17 Callum Brooks.

Gosport Borough: 1 George Legg, 2 TJ Cuthbertson, 3 Rory Williams, 4 Mike Carter, 5 Brett Poate, 6 Sam Pearce, 7 Ryan Woodford, 8 Ben Harding, 9 Perry Ryan (17 David Jerrard, 70), 10 Justin Bennett, 11 Dan Wooden. Subs not used: 12 Adam Wilde, 14 Connor May, 15 Adam Brice, 16 Connor Hoare.

Attendance: 472.