Tudors slip up against Concord as poor home form continues
Hemel Hempstead Town failed to make it two wins from two over the bank holiday weekend as they were beaten 2-1 by Concord Rangers at Vauxhall Road on Monday.
The Tudors went into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 2-0 victory at Maidenhead United on Saturday, but a series of missed chances proved costly for Dean Brennan’s side.
Vauxhall Road was something of a fortress last season with only one defeat; that tally had been doubled before this game and the poor record continued as two first half goals were enough to earn the points for the visitors.
Brennan made five changes to the side that won on Saturday and the conditions made passing football difficult, but Hemel moved the ball around well at the start.
Ben Mackey tested Butler in the Rangers goal when he turned sharply before shooting, with the keeper doing well to save from close range.
This was the only time he was tested in the first period as Hemel left their shooting boots in dressing room, with Luke Allen and Mackey both firing wide when well placed.
It was Concord who took the lead, very much against the run of play with their first attempt on target.
After Hemel lost possession in the middle of the park, the ball was moved quickly up-field and Sam Collins was given far too much time and room on the edge of the box to fire into the corner past a despairing dive by Laurie Walker.
The Tudors continued to create chances after this and a good run by Simmonds saw him set up Mackey who again missed the target.
Ollie Thorne almost gifted Rangers a second when his attempted headed clearance went backwards towards the Hemel goal and only a save by Walker, followed by a block on the line by Murphy prevented the visitors from going two up.
Allen then had another chance when he found himself in space but he curled his shot wide and Hemel were made to pay when Concord scored an almost identical goal to their first after 36 minutes.
Allen lost the ball in the middle and Rangers countered quickly, setting up James White who fired home from the edge of the box to make it two.
The Tudors still managed to create and miss two more efforts before the break; the first was a free-kick on the edge of the box that was curled over by Jordan Parkes and, with probably the best chance of the day, Ollie Hawkins fired wide from six yards when under pressure from two defenders.
Manager Brennan made three changes at half-time, replacing Mackey, Allen and Moussa Diarra with James Potton, Daniel Talbot and Jorrell Johnson in an effort to salvage something.
It made an immediate impact when a great passing move down the right just five minutes in set up Ed Asafu-Adjaye who drove into the box, side stepped a challenge before blasting the ball into the net to get the home side back into the game.
Another good move involving Kyle Connolly and Parkes saw Butler save well after the Hemel skipper managed to get a shot in on target.
As they poured forward in search of an equaliser, The Tudors ran the risk of conceding at the other end and only a good save by Walker and a smart interception by Johnson prevented this happening.
Daniel Talbot had a chance with a free-kick on the edge of the box but he only managed to hit the wall.
Potton then fired wide from close range and Connolly shot straight at Butler after a good one two with Simmonds.
Talbot had another free-kick which he again fired at the wall, before Potton followed up and his shot appeared to strike the hand of a defender but the penalty claims were waved away.
Hemel had one last late chance after another good move involving Talbot and Hawkins set up Ollie Thorne but his attempted chip was easily claimed by the keeper.
At the end of the day, a better second half performance which almost rescued the points but another home defeat and Tudors fans are left wondering why the goals have suddenly dried up as Concord made their way back to the beaches of Canvey with the spoils.