FIRST TAKE (Saturday, March 18): Hemel Town 3 Margate 2.
The Tudors narrowly beat bottom of the league Margate at Vauxhall Road yesterday afternoon (Saturday, March 18).
Before the match, there was a minute’s applause for long-time Tudors fan Paul Oxtoby who sadly passed away at the end of February.
The Tudors got the first goal aafter just two minutes from top scorer Jake Robinson. It all came from a deep cross from Matt Spring and Robinson found himself with the ball at his feet where he sidestepped past the keeper to tap the ball into the net.
Skipper Jordan Parkes almost doubled their lead when hitting a half volley on target which was followed by another Parkes shot a few minutes later which went off target.
Charlie Sheringham did double Hemel’s lead in the 14th minute when Parkes crossed into the far post where Ben Greenhalgh knocked it inside for Sheringham, who took a touch and slotted it to the right of the keeper.
Hemel perhaps thought that would be enoguth to win the game however Margate weren’t going down without a fight as a cross into the box seemed to have taken a little touch which left Tudors’ keeper Jamie Butler stranded to make it 2-1 with ten minutes left before the break.
The second-half started off quietly but with Hemel still dominating. The Tudors had a couple of chances but were unable to seriously trouble the Margate netminder.
Hemel’s dominance eventually paid off when Sheringham bagged his second goal in the 62nd minute - and his eighth since joining the club on loan from Ebbsfleet - as his dad, Spurs and England legend Teddy, was watching. The goal came after a mistake from the Margate keeper when he missed the ball due to Sheringham putting him under pressure. Sheringham took the ball and tapped it home to the jubilation of the cheering Hemel supporters.
Parkes was denied again when a ball from Robinson arrived at the captain’s feet where he shot first-time only for the keeper to get over quickly enough to make a great save.
Margate were still not done and they reduced the deficit to 3-2 with 16 minutes to go when a half-volley left Butler rooted to the spot.
It made for a nervy final quarter-of-an-hour for the Hemel faithful and Margate almost equalised when miscommunication between Butler and defender Tony Diagne left a Margate striker one-on-one with Butler but the forward dithered and eventually got tackled to squander the chance.
Margate were suddenly crawling their way on top but Hemel did then have a penalty claim when Ed Asafu-Adjaye appered to be barged over in the area but which left the referee unmoved.
That was the last of the action as Hemel got the three points they craved and leapfrogged rivals St Albans (who lost 4-0 at relegation-threatened Gosport Borough) into tenth in the National League (South) table and within nine points of the playoffs with just seven games to go.
Hemel: Jamie Butler, Callum Driver, James Kaloczi, Jordan Parkes (c), Tony Diagne, Matt Spring, Ben Greenhalgh (Rohdell Gordon), Matt Saunders, Jake Robinson, (12 Kyle Connolly), Charlie Sheringham, Ed Asafu-Adjaye. Subs not used: Bardley Singh, Kieran Warren, Charlie May.
Next up for the Tudors is a trip to Essex next Saturday, March 25, to face 17th-placed Concord Rangers, who lost 2-1 at playoff-chasing Hungerford yesterday.
*See the Gazette this Wednesday for Allan Mitchell’s report from the game and an interview with skipper Jordan Parkes.