Hemel Town lost for the first time in the league since September 23 when they went down 2-1 against Hungerford Town on Saturday.
It was a frustrating day for the Hemel faithful as the side wasted a chance to push further up the table, losing to a Hungerford outfit who looked like they were content to go back down the M4 with a point from the start.
Missed opportunities were the main reason the away side ended up with all three points at Vauxhall Road, as The Tudors wasted their chances while Hungerford took theirs and were well organised at the back even though they rode their luck at times.
It has to be said, with better finishing Hemel should have wrapped the game up before half-time. It was the first time the Tudors had tasted defeat in the National League South since September when they went down 5-1 at Chippenham Town, a span of 12 games without a loss.
The hosts had the majority of the chances in the first-half and could have gone in front as early as the third minute when David Moyo and Scotty Shulton had shots blocked.
The same two players had further efforts in the 25th minute with Shulton’s shot being saved, the ball ran loose to Alex Osborn who saw his effort deflected away for a corner. From that corner Moyo arrived unmarked at the back post but saw his header cleared off the line.
Hungerford could have taken the lead on the half-hour mark, somewhat against the run of play, when a loose pass was intercepted and Nicholas Bignall raced clear but Tudors stand-in keeper Danny Boness did well to close him down and saved well.
The Tudors really should have then scored when Spencer McCall set up Osborn, but his shot was blocked and the ball rebounded to Joe Howe but he couldn’t keep his effort down and fired over the bar from close range.
Will Hoskins missed another chance just before the break when he chipped over Hungerford keeper Marcos Beauchamp and the crossbar.
Hemel finally converted early in the second-half when a Jordan Parkes corner went straight in, Beauchamp completely missing his attempted punch and the ball just curled into the net at the far post.
It was a lead they deserved but was only short-lived as another goalkeeping error let Hungerford back into the game. Boness decided to come for a ball that wasn’t really his and Nicholas Bignall got there first to head into an empty net, with their first real chance of the game.
Not long after it was 2-1 to the visitors when Diak John arrived unmarked at the far stick to set up Luke Hopper who made no mistake from close range to stun the home fans.
Hemel had their chances to draw level, Hoskins combining well with Kyle Connolly, playing a neat one-two but the rampaging Tudors’ fullback hit his shot straight at Beauchamp and he parried it away.
With Hemel pushing forward, Boness had to come to the rescue on a couple of occasions when Hungerford took advantage of the space they were given by the advancing defence, saving well from Hopper on both occasions.
James Kaloczi saw his late header saved and that was the last real chance for Hemel.
In the end, the visitors held on comfortably for a surprise win and a well-earned one that their team effort deserved. Despite the loss, Hemel remain in the playoff places in seventh spot in the standings but St Albans have norrowed the gap to a single point.
Next up for the Tudors is a tough trip to fourth-ranked Braintree Town this Saturday.
Hemel v Hungerford: Danny Boness, James Kaloczi, Joe Howe, Jordan Parkes (captain) (Tyler Campbell), Alex Osborn, Scotty Shulton, David Moyo (Matt Saunders), Will Hoskins, Spencer McCall (Antonio German). Subs not used: Ebby Nelson-Addy, Laurie Walker.
Mitch’s man of the match: James Kaloczi.