Hat-trick hero Holness is too hot for Tudors to handle

Hemel Hempstead Town slipped to defeat in the Vanarama National League South

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:58 am
Hemel Hempstead Town boss Lee Bircham

Braintree Town came away with all three points against Hemel Hempstead Town at Vauxhall Road last weekend, writes Allan Mitchell.

And it was hat-trick hero Luke Holness who ended up being the difference between the sides.

The Tudors had their chances but they just could not cope with Holness who provided a clinical exhibition of finishing in Braintree’s 3-0 success.

Hemel manager Lee Bircham must feel he has walked under several ladders and broken a mirror or two as he looks at his injury list and his side’s misfortune in front of goal.

But he is also aware that the Tudors simply cannot keep giving soft goals away, which was again very much the case in this game.

Braintree took the lead after just 10 minutes and there was, almost inevitably a touch of luck in the goal as Holness dispossessed Cole Kpekawa on the edge of the before clipping a shot past Hayes in the Tudors goal, the shot taking a deflection which helped the ball loop over the keeper.

The second came on 15 minutes when some slack defending allowed a Braintree player time and space to whip a cross in from the right and, with Hemel’s back line on their heels, it was met by Holness again who stepped in front of James Kaloczi and tucked the ball home at the near post.

Hemel’s best chance of the half came when James Dobson was put clear by JJ Lacey but, with just the keeper to beat, he put his shot wide of the post.

Bircham made two changes at the break, one was enforced as Zach Robinson had limped off just before half-time to join the ever growing injury list and the second was to take off Mike Frieter for the returning Stephen Gleeson.

Gleeson’s experience seemed to settle the home side down and they created some decent chances in the second half but they found Braintree goalminder, Preston Edwards in good form.

After some decent possession, Hemel threatened more and looked like they could get back into the game but it was Braintree who put it to bed after some more indifferent defending when a low cross from the right was tucked home by Holness for his hat-trick just before the hour mark.

The home side huffed and puffed but still couldn’t find a way past Edwards who saved from JJ Lacey twice and the best one of all, a point blank block from Kaloczi late on.

So, not the best start for the Tudors with seven goals conceded in the opening two games but with several experienced players yet to return Bircham is confident that things will improve in the coming weeks.

It’s been a frustrating time with the Tudors boss saying in his programme notes that he has never known anything like it but they are working to get things right both on and off the pitch.