There was late heartbreak for Hemel Hempstead Town as they were beaten 1-0 by National League South playoff rivals Bishop’s Stortford in Tuesday night’s Hertfordshire derby.
Mikel Suarez had wasted a number of chances for the hosts throughout the game, but Suarez came back to bite the Tudors in the 90th minute as he planted a fine header past Jamie Butler to condemn the Tudors to defeat.
Hemel once again named a much-changed starting XI, with Audrius Laucys, Ollie Thorne and Adam Morgan all named in the side after being brought into the club on various short term and permanent deals.
It was a quiet first 15 minutes, with few chances for either side, apart from a couple of tame headers from Suarez that drifted harmlessly wide.
Hemel’s first real attempt on goal came just after the half hour mark when Michael Richens let fly from range, but the effort went well wide of Ross Fitzsimons’ goal, before Graeme Montgomery also fired wide from distance.
The hosts came close to breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute when Morgan Ferrier nodded the ball goalwards from an Anthony Church header across the box, but Ben Herd was on hand to hack the ball off the line.
The scrappy nature of the game continued in the second half, with the first real shot of note coming in the 63rd minute as Corby Moore stung the palms of Jamie Butler.
Church should have given the hosts the lead a few minutes later, but he headed wide from six yards when well placed in front of goal, while Suarez was again off target with his head.
Hemel introduced Dennis Oli and Jamie Slabber from the bench to add extra attacking impetus, and the former came close for Hemel in the 83rd minute as his overhead kick was sliced just wide by a defender.
There was to be a sting in the tail of an otherwise even game, however, as Robbie Willmott scampered down the right in the 90th minute and delivered a wonderful cross for Suarez to firmly plant a header into the top corner of the net to win the game for the hosts.
Bishop’s Stortford: 1 Ross Fitzsimons, 2 Ashley Miller, 3 Johnny Herd, 4 Frankie Merrifield, 5 Kenzer Lee, 6 Chris M’Boungou, 7 Corby Moore, 8 Anthony Church (c) (15 Ali Abdullahi, 74 mins) 9 Mikel Suarez, 10 Morgan Ferrier (14 De’Reece Vanderhyde, 74 mins), 11 Robbie Wilmott. Subs not used: 12 Elliott Buchanan, 13 Tom Lovelock, 16 Josh Ekim
Hemel Hempstead Town: 1 Jamie Butler, 2 Ben Herd, 3 Mitch Brundle, 4 Audrius Laucys (12 Terrell Forbes,74), 5 Oliver Thorne, 6 Matt Spring, 7 Adam Morgan (14 Jamie Slabber, 61 mins) 8 Michael Richens, 9 James Potton, 10 Luke Thomas (15 Dennis Oli, 74 mins), 11 Graeme Montgomery. Subs not used: 13 Jack Smith, 16 Dean Brennan.