FA Trophy time for Hemel Hempstead Town welcoming Stourbridge
Manager Mark Jones keen for notch first competitive home win
Hemel Hempstead Town are still looking for their first home competitive win of the season - and manager Mark Jones knows his side will be doing their best to put that right on Saturday when they take on Stourbridge in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Last weekend’s hopes of breaking the home duck didn’t come to fruition, when the Tudors missed out 3-2 to National League South leaders Dartford, ending what had been a five-game unbeaten run.
The visitors went ahead early on but Alfie Cerulli levelled after 20 minutes to go in 1-1 at half time.
Dartford then led 3-1 from a penalty and 70th-minute strike before Cerulli added his second in the 92nd.
Manager Mark Jones felt his side had deserved to be level at half time, with some encouraging parts of their performance in the opening half, but he was disappointed with Hemel’s second half game.
“Dartford nullified our threat quite well,” he said.
“We were guilty of going back to front too quickly, with too many long balls when we should have tried to shorten it and get some passes in.
“They got on top of us, but we didn’t give up and in the last ten minutes started to cause them some problems.
“There’s no lack of effort, we just didn’t quite have control of the game in the second half.
“But we were playing against the top of the table, they have some very good players and an experienced manager.”
He concluded: “They’re a good solid team and perhaps the penalty decision against us for their second goal was a bit harsh.
“The ball hit our defender’s hand, it wasn’t intentional, which sometimes I’ve seen given, sometimes not.
“But we always have to look at ourselves and what we can do better to get a positive result.”
This weekend’s break from the campaign sees Hemel welcoming Southern League Premier Central Division Stourbridge FC to Vauxhall Road in the second round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
“It’s always good to have a home draw - although our home form isn’t great!” added Jones.
“We’re still searching for our first competitive home victory this season - so we have another opportunity to do that on Saturday.
“Although they’re a level below us they are a decent side who have invested in their squad over the summer.
“They have competitive players who have played at a higher level and were one of the fancied teams at the start of the season.
“Things probably haven’t been going how they would have liked, but they are dangerous.
“It’s going to be tough but we will do our best to produce a positive result.”