Hemel Hempstead Town FC won their second trophy of the season as they beat Tring Athletic 1-0 in the final of the St Mary’s Cup at Vauxhall Road this afternoon.
Fittingly, it was captain fantastic Jordan Parkes who got the winning goal for Hemel – as he has done so many times this season – to see off the challenge of a gutsy and determined Tring side.
The trophy will sit alongside the Herts Senior Cup which the Tudors won at The County Ground a few weeks ago.
In truth, today’s game had a real end of season feel about it, despite there being a cup up for grabs for the Dacorum neighbours.
Tring will feel that they did enough to at least send the match into extra-time, but it was the game’s one real moment of quality that proved to be the difference between the two sides.
SSML Premier Division side Tring started the game well and restricted their Conference South hosts to just a handful of pot-shots in the first half.
Left-back Kyle Connolly came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Tudors following good work by Parkes, Zane Banton and Nicke Kababmba, but he fired his effort across goal and narrowly wide of the far post.
A goalless scoreline was a fair reflection of the game at half-time, but Hemel came out with renewed purpose after the interval and began to press forward in search of the opening goal.
It duly arrived midway through the half, and was yet another example of why Parkes has been the leading light for the Tudors this season.
Young right-back Conor Clarke surged forward and put in a fine cross, with Tudors skipper Parkes arriving right on cue to cushion a header into the top corner for a goal which was impressive in its sheer simplicity.
Hemel looked to add a second goal soon afterwards, with man of the match Matty Harriott seeing an effort blocked on the line, but the Tudors were given a couple of scares at the other end as Tring attempted to force the game into extra-time.
First, Luke Dunstan rose highest at a corner and thumped a header a few centimetres wide of the upright, before Lee Stobbs forced a fine stop from Hemel keeper Laurie Walker as he connected with a sweetly-hit volley on the stretch.
That proved to be the last moment of note as Hemel saw out the remaining few minutes to ensure it was a winning end to the campaign for Dean Brennan’s men.