Late drama yet again as Tudors pounce at the death to deny Chelmsford

James Potton, right, salvaged a point for Hemel. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard
James Potton, right, salvaged a point for Hemel. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard
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James Potton struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Hemel Hempstead Town salvaged a 1-1 draw with Chelmsford City to extend their unbeaten league run to six matches.

It looked as though Chelmsford were going to return to Essex with all three points, but we have seen on plenty of occasions this season that there is usually a sting in the tail of games involving the Tudors.

And sure enough, there was yet more late drama as Hemel keeper Jamie Butler was sent forward for a last-gasp Ben Herd free-kick. The ball fell to the Tudors keeper, who stabbed an effort goalwards, with the ball eventually being bundled home by Potton for 1-1.

After a quiet start to proceedings, the first real chance of the match fell to Hemel centre-forward Nikolay Todarov in the 23rd minute as he got his head to a long free-kick from Butler and forced a good save from City keeper Christian Dibble.

In truth, Chelmsford had created very little in the opening half an hour, but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the 31st minute as Herd was caught our of position, and Jack Bridge was able to race down the left before sending in a cross that was deflected into his own net by Adam Bailey-Dennis.

It could have been 2-0 a couple of minutes later as Chelmsford worked the ball from right to left, with Sandro Semedo forcing Butler into a good save with his legs.

The Tudors came agonisingly close to restoring parity right at the end of the first half, with Graeme Montgomery racing clear and beating Dibble. His effort looked destined for the net, but Mark Haines somehow got back to deflect the ball up in the air, before Ibra Sekajja’s follow-up header looped just over the bar.

Chelmsford started the second half brightly and the lively Bridge flashed a shot across goal, before Billy Bricknell wasted a glorious chance when he was left clean through on goal but could only lob a weak effort straight at Butler.

Hemel started to grow into the half but Chelmsford looked dangerous on the counter-attack and it took a fine covering tackle from Harry Hickford to prevent Bridge from doubling the visitors’ advantage in the 68th minute.

Sekajja came close for Hemel with a shot on the turn in the 84th minute, but his effort drifted just wide of the post as time began to run out for the hosts.

A late chance fell to Montgomery, but his effort was held by Dibble as Chelmsford looked to be heading for all three points. However, Potton had the last say to rescue a vital point for the Tudors.

Hemel Hempstead Town: 1 Jamie Butler, 2 Ben Herd (c), 3 Jack Kelly (17 Matt Spring, 45 mins), 4 Adam Bailey-Dennis, 5 Harry Hickford, 6 Ibra Sekajja, 7 Ricky Wellard, 8 Michael Richens, 9 Nikolay Todorov (14 Matthew Saunders, 56 mins), 10 James Potton, 11 Graeme Montgomery.

Subs not used: 12 Gary Connolly, 15 Dean Brennan, 16 Luke Jones

Chelmsford City: 1 Christian Dibble, 2 Robert Girdlestone, 3 Marvel Ekpiteta, 4 Reece Prestedge, 5 Mark Haines, 6 Rory McAuley, 7 Harry Morgan, 8 Jack Bridge, 9 Billy Bricknell, 10 Sandro Semedo, 11 Bagasan Graham.

Subs not used: 12 Luke Daley, 14 Tiomthy Monsheju, 15 Marvin Ekpitete, 16 Lee Sawyer, 17 Connor Pearce.

Attendance: 423.