Tudors and Saints share the spoils in Hertfordshire derby stalemate

Hemel Hempstead Town striker Ben Mackey battles for the ball against St Albans. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Hemel Hempstead Town striker Ben Mackey battles for the ball against St Albans. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Calor League Southern Premier Division leaders Hemel Hempstead Town were held to a goalless draw by St Albans City in a closely-fought Hertfordshire derby clash.

The Saints had clearly gone to Vauxhall Road with the intention of defending as a group and hoping to come away with a point – a tactic which they executed well to earn the draw.

The game was far from a classic, but Hemel came close to taking all three points through a vicious strike from Jordan Parkes which came back off the post late on.

Hemel played the better football of the two sides, but chances were few and far between throughout as the Saints held firm.

The Tudors will feel aggrieved that they did not open the scoring in the first half, however, as goalkeeper Laurie Walker launched a ball into the net from inside his own half but the goal was chalked off as Saints keeper Tom Coulton was collecting another ball in the pitch at the time.

The hosts had the ball in the net again shortly before the interval courtesy of Parkes, but again the referee disallowed the effort as Oliver Hawkins was deemed to have committed a foul in the build-up.

Warren Whitely had Saints’ best chance at the other end when he latched on to a misdirected header from David King, but he could only lob his effort over the bar.

There were some unsavoury scenes in the clubhouse at half-time as local rivalry threatened to get out of hand, but the Hemel stewards acted swiftly to eject trouble-makers from the ground.

The second half started with Hemel still looking the better side as Coulton made a smart stop from a Parkes free-kick, while record-breaking scorer Ben Mackey also forced the Saints keeper into action with a strike across goal.

Like Allen blasted over for the Tudors and Steve Wales tried his luck for the visitors, but neither effort managed to find the net.

The best moment of the game came nine minutes from time when Parkes latched on to the ball 20 yards from goal, and the Hemel skipper saw his textbook volley crash back off the post and away to safety.

St Albans defender Ben Martin was shown a second yellow card deep into stoppage time, but Hemel had no time to take advantage of the numerical advantage and the game ended all square.