Frustration for Tudors as frozen pitch costs them victory against Wealdstone

Hemel captain Jordan Parkes has been leading by example. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Hemel captain Jordan Parkes has been leading by example. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Hemel Hempstead Town were left frustrated on Tuesday night as their Vanarama Conference South clash with Wealdstone was called off at half-time, despite the Tudors boasting a three-goal lead.

Wealdstone have used up a fair share of luck this season against the Tudors, and they got another share when the referee called the game off at the interval, as he felt the pitch was becoming dangerous with the temperature dropping below freezing.

Hemel were well in control at this point and were three goals to the good after just 15 minutes.

But for some excellent goalkeeping by Jonathan North in the Wealdstone goal, the scoreline could have been even more embarrassing for the visitors. North earned his side a point in the away fixture by frustrating Hemel with a string of fine saves – receiving a man of the match award for his efforts on the day – and he was forced into action after only a minute of Tuesday’s game, superbly tipping a Matty Harriott drive over the bar.

The resulting corner wasn’t cleared and excellent work from James Potton down the right set up Jordan Parkes who fired a cross to the waiting Moussa Diarra, who powered home a header to put the Tudors one up.

More good work from Potton saw Zane Banton put clear but his shot was well saved by North. The resulting corner was, again, not dealt with and Harriott got a cross in for Ollie Hawkins, who headed goalwards, only to see that man North tip the ball over the bar again.

On nine minutes, the excellent Potton got on the scoresheet when he found space in the box; he scuffed his shot somewhat but despite North’s efforts, the ball crept in.

Skipper Parkes, who had a superb volley saved by the Wealdstone custodian moments earlier, made it three after 15 minutes, when he firmly connected with a loose ball on the edge of the box, sending the ball flying into the corner of the net to put Hemel well in command, with Wealdstone looking completely shell-shocked.

Hawkins had another couple of opportunities that were both saved, and Nicke Kabamba incepted a back-pass to force yet another good stop from North.

As the half drew to a close, Wealdstone finally made a couple of chances themselves, but Laurie Walker returned the compliment to his rival at the other end by saving well.

As the players came off at half-time, a rumour started that the referee was considering calling the game off as he felt conditions were getting worse – however, with the players seemingly coping well it didn’t seem likely.

But with Wealdstone reluctant to take the field in the second period, the officials had another look at the pitch and decided to abandon the match, much to the frustration of the Hemel faithful and the obvious delight of the Stones supporters who had turned up in numbers to watch their team.

Hemel can take some positives from the game and there is no doubt that they really are starting to look a very good side.

Despite the evening’s frustrations, they can look forward with some confidence to the next game at home to a very good Gosport side, when the Tudors will be looking to avenge a heavy defeat earlier in the season.