Hemel Town got the new season off to a perfect start with a rousing 3-0 home win over Whitehawk yesterday (Saturday).
The new-look Tudors saw off the Brighton-based side in front of a crowd of 409 at Vauxhall Road but Whitehawk did push them hard and the final scoreline was perhaps a little harsh on the visitors.
Ben Greenhalgh had a decent chance after just five minutes when he controlled a through ball superbly but just couldn’t get enough power on the shot, allowing Alex Tokarczyk in the Whitehawk goal to make an easy save.
Greenhalgh made amends just seven minutes later to give Hemel the lead when he scored from close range after Charlie Sheringham’s header was saved after good work by full-back Joe Howe down the left.
Tokarczyk made a brilliant point-blank stop from a Sheringham header on 25 minutes, with the Hemel striker in disbelief that he hadn’t increased the lead after making good contact with the ball.
Right on half-time Sheringham had another opportunity with a header but he couldn’t get his effort on target as the ball flashed post the post.
The Tudors had done most of the pressing in the first half but Whitehawk always looked dangerous on the counter with full-back Liam Gordon and Bayen Fenwick both coming close and it was somewhat surprising that it remained 1-0 at the break.
The second period saw the visitors working hard trying to stop Hemel’s passing game and the match became somewhat scrappy in parts but The Hawk created little and Town just needed to get that second goal to ease the home fans’ worries.
It finally came with 78 minutes on the clock when substitute Alex Osborn fired home after seeing his first shot well saved. The unlucky Tokarczyk could only block the first effort and Osborn latched onto the rebound, rounded the keeper and fired home past a defender on the line.
Hemel looked as though they would add to their total after this crucial second goal and they put the game to bed in the 90th minute after a superb move involving Osborn and Johnny McNamara. They set up Howe who hit his shot first-time with power into the bottom corner, leaving Tokarczyk no chance.
The 3-0 result puts Hemel top of the National League South table on goal difference which, of course, means little at this stage but it’s exactly the sort of positive start that boss Dean Brennan would have been looking for.
Next up for Hemel is a tough trip to Canvey Island to take on Concord this Tuesday night and they then travel down to Hungerford the following Saturday, August 12.
It was important to get three points on the board and a clean sheet was a bonus too as conceding too many goals was Hemel’s downfall last season.
Concord started their season with a 2-1 defeat at Wealdstone while Hungerford drew 0-0 at Dartford.
Hemel Town (ratings out of 10 by Allan Mitchell): Laurie Walker 7, Callum Driver 7, Joe Howe 8, Jordan Parkes (c) (Mcnamara 7) 7, Tom Hamblin 9, Ishmal Makubu 8, James Kaloczi 7, Taylor Miles (Alex Osborn 8) 7, Samuel Hatton 7, Charlie Sheringham (Phil Walsh 7) 7, Ben Greenhalgh 8.
Subs not used: Kyle Connolly, Charlie May.
Man of the Match: Hamblin.
Referee: Ryan Atkin.