It was a day to forgot for Hemel Town this afternoon (Saturday) after they lost their second game in a row in a poor 3-0 defeat at home against Dartford.
Dartford left Vauxhall Road with three deserved points after completely dominating the second period following a disappointing first-half that saw few chances created by either side.
Tudors’ boss Dean Brennan made two changes to the line-up that fell 1-0 at Gloucester City last weekend. Sam Hatton, who was out with an illness last week, returned to the starting line-up at the expense of James Kaloczi, and mainstay Ben Greenlagh was dropped to the bench for the first league game of the campaign, in favour of Matt Spring.
The Tudors almost took the lead early on when recent loan signing Rowan Liburd found himself in space but he could only direct his shot onto the post from a tight angle.
Dartford had two opportunities before the break; Hemel keeper Laurie Walker saving well from Warren Mfula from close range and then Mfula skied his shot from even closer in with Walker stranded at the far stick.
Hemel seem to have got themselves in rather a rut, attacking-wise, just lately with few scoring opportunities being created. They have been able to rely on some solid defensive performances but goals win games and Brennan will be hoping his side find their scoring boots before too long.
The second-half was all-Dartford and they missed several clear chances with Alfie Pavey and Mfula both squandering efforts when well-placed.
Richard Sho-Silva then headed over from a corner and it only seemed a matter of time before the visitors took the lead.
The breakthrough came on 52 minutes when Callum Driver mistimed a tackle in the box. The Darts’ skipper Elliot Bradshaw stepped up and rifled his spot-kick home.
Dartford continued to make chances and they finally put the game to bed when Pavey headed home from a corner on 77 minutes.
Another late challenge, this time from captain Jordan Parkes, saw a second penalty awarded for Dartford four minutes from time. Bradshaw’s effort was nearly kept out by Walker but the in-form keeper just couldn’t get enough on the ball and it cruelly crept in via the post.
Once again Walker was the Tudors’ man of the match, keeping his side in the game until late on. The real worry for Hemel fans is how few scoring opportunities the side have created in the last few games. They have now failed to find the back of the net in three of their past five contests.
There were few chances created against Gloucester the week before and no shots on target in this game albeit against one of the favourites for promotion.
Brennan will be looking at his options and hoping that the likes of Matt Saunders and David Moyo will be available for selection sooner rather than later.
The defeat means they slip to eighth in the table.
The Tudors have a quick chance to wash the taste of defeat from their mouths as they are in action again in just two days’ time with a Bank Holiday Monday local derby trip to 19th-placed Wealdstone, who are winless in their last five encounters.
Supporters are being advised to get to the game early as away fans will be segregated and a large crowd is expected.
After that, Town are hosting Truro City at Vauxhall Road a week from today (Saturday, September 2). Truro are in tenth place in the National League South standings but have lost their last three.
Hemel: Laurie Walker. Callum Driver, Joe Howe, Jordan Parkes (captain), Tom Hamblin, Ismail Yakubu, Sam Hatton (James Kaloczi), Matt Spring, Rowan Liburd (Ben Greenhalgh), Charlie Sheringham, Alex Osborn (Jerome Federico). Subs not used: Kyle Connolly, Taylor Miles.
Dartford: Deren Ibrahim, Danny Harris, Mark Onyemah, Tom Bonnor, Richard Sho-Silva, Lee Noble, Ryan Hayes (Toby Ajala), Alfie Pavey (Keaton Wood), Warren Mfula (Andy Pugh), Lyle Della-Verge. Subs not used: Alfie Cue, Ronnie Vant.
Referee: Tom Reeves.