AFC Totton 2
Hemel Hempstead Town 0
Hemel Town got off to a disappointing start to 2013 as they slipped to defeat at AFC Totton.
The teams went in level at 0-0 at half-time on the New Year’s Day clash, but Totton struck twice after the break to take the points and put a dent in Hemel’s title challenge.
The Tudors still sit top of the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division, but are now only one point clear of second-placed Leamington who have four games in hand.
Following a bright start by the hosts, Totton had the first chance when Richard Gillespie was denied by a good save from Hemel keeper Sam Beagle.
Jordan Parkes and Matt Nolan had decent chances at the other end, before Totton’s Dave Allen hit the crossbar with a chipped effort.
It was Hemel who should have been in front at half-time, though. Peter Holmes scuffed his shot at an open goal, and Nolan just failed to meet the ball as he slid in at the far post.
And Hemel were made to pay for the miss two minutes into the second half when James Coutts played in Allen to smash home from just inside the box.
Alex Campana and Charlie Mpi both squandered good opportunities to equalise for Hemel, and Gillespie made sure of the win for the hosts with a second goal eight minutes from time.
Jon Davies split the Tudors’ defence with a precise through-ball to Gillespie, and he lifted the ball over Beagle to secure the points for his side.
Hemel will look to bounce back from the defeat when they take on Kettering Town at Vauxhall Road on Saturday.
Kettering currently sit bottom of the division with only three wins from their opening 19 games of the season.
But those victories have all come in the space of their last four matches, so they look to have finally found some form.