Hemel bow out of FA Cup at Bath 0-3
Hemel bowed out of the FA Cup at the 3rd round qualification stage after a 3-0 loss at Bath City with all three goals coming in stoppage time.
Tom Day made his season debut for the injury-hit Tudors and two Hemel Academy lads - Lewis Collins and Zac Jose - were named on the bench.
Frankie Artus nodded in the opener in first-half injury time to put the Romans 1-0 up at the break.
They were made to wait until the 90-minute mark had passed before adding anymore, when Andy Watkins and Jamie Lucas scored in stoppage time to give the scoreline a lopsided look which the match didn’t merit.
It took a while for the game to really hot up, as neither side got the ball down for any extended periods.
There was a brief flurry of action when bath’s Nick McCootie volleyed a Jack Compton corner into a defender at point-blank range.
And right at the other end keeper Luke Southwood had to get down to snaffle up a James Kaloczi header.
Anthony Straker also had to make a flying block to keep out a stinging Hemel effort at the edge of the box.
Gradually the hosts began to edge the contest and both teams eventually looked to keep the ball on the ground more often, but neither could make the possession count.
It was City that grew into the game more and their wingers linked up when Compton fired a cross-field ball over for Watkins, who ran inside of his man and shot wide.
There were huge penalty shouts for the Romans when Watkins took a short corner from Compton and went down under a challenge, but referee Ryan Atkin turned away any protests.
Another centre from the tricky Compton found right-back Kevin Amankwaah in the box, his defender’s touch skewing the ball straight out for a goal-kick.
Eventually the breakthrough did arrive on the end of a cross in first-half added time.
It was Straker, overlapping on the left, who swung the ball across for Artus to flick in with a perfectly-timed run to the edge of the six-yard box.
Ending the opening stanza strongly, City kept gunning for a second and only a desperate, stretching clearance kept a Nat Jarvis cross from finding McCootie.
The hosts created the first opportunity after the break when Jack Batten was not far off a free-kick delivery from Compton.
But Hemel would not go down lightly and picked up their own game. Southwood had to make a sprawling save, finger-tipping a Rowan Liburd effort over. He then nudged a header into the Bath End terrace.
A tricky Straker run into the box almost handed Jarvis a goal, as the striker got a faint touch on his low cross, which was held by Laurie Walker.
Ogo Obi, back in the side for the first time in six matches, ballooned high and wide when a corner dropped his way at the far post, and then had the Romans’ defence racing across to get a block on his next shot.
Hustling Jarvis failed to get a decent connection on a shot comfortably held by Walker, while Obi put an effort straight down Southwood’s throat at the other end.
There was another chance for Jarvis, flicking a driven Compton cross off target.
A dangerous spot for a Hemel free-kick had City worried, but Jordan Parkes’ sent a curling effort into Southwood’s hands.
Another penalty shout for City was denied as Jarvis was squashed by a flopping defender. The ball would run for Compton to smash into a defender.
A rare opportunity came and went for McCootie, again denied by a defending body, following another superb run from Watkins.
City did a good job of soaking up much of the Hemel pressure, mostly made up of direct, long balls.
They should have sewn up the game with a second, if not for a disastrous miss from substitute Lucas.
McCootie did well to keep the ball in at the by-line and teed up the former Bristol Rovers man, who somehow shot wide from seven yards.
However, Watkins sealed their progress in stoppage-time by volleying in after Compton had seen a shot parried by Walker.
Lucas made up for his miss with a second goal in a minute, steadying himself well before rifling into the bottom-right corner.
Next up for Hemel are 16-th-placed Weston-Super-Mare at Vauxhall Road on Saturday, October 7, and boss Dean Brennan will no doubt be hoping that the merciful week-long gap will enable some of his charges to get healthy.
Hemel: Laurie Walker, Sam Hatton, Tom Day, Jordan Parkes, Phil Walsh, Callum Driver, James Kaloczi, Ogo Obi (Alex Osborn 68), Rowan Liburd (Matt Spring 69), Charlie Sheringham, Justin Amaluzor (Ben Greenhalgh 73).
Subs not used: Yakubu, Boness, Lewis Collins, Zac Jose.