Hemel Ladies joined their men’s team in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round with a 2-0 win against higher ranked opposition in Herne Bay Ladies of north Kent on Sunday.
Their reward is a home tie against AFC Dunstable Ladies on November 13.
On Sunday, with Hemel kicking uphill towards the Adeyfield School end first, they were fortuitous in going ahead in the sixth minute when midfielder, Kerry Stratton, latched onto the ball and scored after some poor defending.
Ten minutes later a right foot shot by Hemel Player of the Month for September, Lorna Gover, saw the visiting keeper, Rachel Tracy miskick to give Hemel a second early corner.
The next passages of play saw a midfield battle and it wasn’t until 32 minutes when midfielder Charlene Turturici shot just over the crossbar that a clear cut chance was made.
This seemed to break the midfield deadlock as skipper, Carly Farrow, was sent clear for the visitors, only for keeper Ruth Gorin to save her side.
In Hemel’s next attack Natasha McConville had a point-blank effort saved by Tracy.
Just before half time Hemel striker, Tara Hancock, was forced to leave the field after being taken out close to the visiting penalty area. It seemed Tara had suffered a slight concussion after being clattered by a visiting defender.
After five minutes of the second half, goal-scorer Stratton twisted and sprained her right ankle and was forced off for a long spell of treatment.
Three minutes later the visitors were awarded a bizarre free-kick for handball when Gorin inadvertently kicked the ball against one of her own defenders. However, Gorin made amends by pushing the resultant free-kick, from the left wing, behind for the visitors’ first corner in the 58th minute. The corner then taken on the right wing was cleared.
In the 69th minute defender turned striker Natalie Cole headed over for a corner. Hemel Ladies were now dominating most areas of the field of play.
A finger-tip save over her crossbar by Gorin denied the visitors, as they looked to stage a late come-back. The corner was then cleared by the Hemel defence.
Herne Bay’s defender, Valentina Cassini, was next into the referee’s notebook with a double foul on the Hemel left wing and about mid-way on the visitor’s half. Gover thought she had won the match with a shot from very close range, However the referee gave a handball decision against her, when tussling with goalkeeper Tracy.
Just before normal time had elapsed Herne Bay were awarded a corner, that was cleared up-field to McConville. Now baring down on goal her shot strikes Tracy and is cleared. Was that to prove a turning point for the visitors to mount a late cavalry charge? Answer, no, as Turturici went close in the ninetieth minute.
With the referee allowing six plus minutes of added on time Hemel secured three corners, the last of which was swung across for Gover to net at the near post in the fifth minute of added time.