Hit-man Hawkins fires Tudors to opening day win over Dartford

Oliver Hawkins netted the winner for Hemel Town against Dartford. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard
Oliver Hawkins netted the winner for Hemel Town against Dartford. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard
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Hemel Hempstead Town made a flying start to the 2015/16 National League South campaign as they battled to a 1-0 victory over Dartford at Vauxhall Road.

A 31st minute goal by Oliver Hawkins settled this tight opening encounter, but on the balance of play a draw might have been a fairer result.

Oliver Hawkins netted the winner for Hemel Town against Dartford. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Oliver Hawkins netted the winner for Hemel Town against Dartford. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

The first period was very even but Hemel just edged in it in terms of clear chances, with Michael Richens and Matty Harriott both coming close.

At the other end, Dartford forced several corners but failed to capitalise on any of them.

And it was Hemel who broke the deadlock courtesy of a magnificent goal from Hawkins; the tall striker rising to meet a superb cross by Ben Herd, powering his header home to the delight of the home support.

Shortly after this, Hawkins brought the best out of Dartford goalkeeper Ibrahim, firing in a shot from the edge of the box, with the keeper tipping the ball over the bar.

The second period saw Dartford push forward for an equaliser but, in doing so, they left themselves vulnerable at the back.

Both sides had chances but both keepers stayed firm, with Hemel stopper Jamie Butler making a superb save from one of his own defenders, pushing the ball out for a corner.

With a depleted squad through injury, Tudors manager Dean Brennan was very pleased to get three points from the first game of the season.

Hemel Hempstead Town: 1: Jamie Butler 2: Ben herd 3: Kyle Connolly 4: Matty Harriott 5: Terrell Forbes 6: Dave King © ( 14 Foralin) 7: Dennis Oli 8: Michael Richens 9: Oliver Hawkins 10: Jamie Slabber 11: Mo Shariff (16 Josephs) (15 Ghanore) Subs not used 12: Potton 22 Head.

Dartford: 1: Derren Ibrahim 2 Ronnie Vent 3: Mark Onyemah 4: Tom Gardiner 5: Callum McNaughton 6: Lee Noble 7: Danny Harris(14: Ryan Hayes) 8: Elliot Bradbury 9: Tom Bradbrook 10: Andy Pugh 11: Jack Simmonds. Subs 12: George Sykes 15: Barry Cogan 16: Marvin Hamilton 17: Jamie Turner.

Referee: Anthony Coggins 4/5. Match rating: 4/5. Man of the match: Oliver Hawkins (Hemel Hempstead Town). Crowd: 653.