Tudors are pegged back as Sutton United earn FA Cup replay

James Potton opened the scoring in Hemel Town's FA Cup clash with Sutton United. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

James Potton opened the scoring in Hemel Town's FA Cup clash with Sutton United. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

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Hemel Hempstead Town and Sutton United will do it all again on Monday night after today’s FA Cup third qualifying round tie ended in a hard fought 1-1 draw at Vauxhall Road.

Hemel took the lead in the first half through a sublime goal from skipper James Potton, but Sutton levelled it up after the break courtesy of a thumping strike from Ross Stern to send the game to a replay.

Hemel Town skipper James Potton will be looking to get back in amongst the goals. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Hemel Town skipper James Potton will be looking to get back in amongst the goals. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Monday’s game will be the third time that the two teams have met in the space of nine days, following today’s clash and a 2-2 draw in the league seven days earlier.

Hemel went into the game with a psychological boost following last week’s fightback from 2-0 down, and it truth they had the better of the chances over the course of the 90 minutes.

It was an even first 10 minutes, with neither side creating much in the attacking third as they both settled into their rhythm. Jack Smith fired a free-kick over for Hemel, but apart from that there was little to worry either goalkeeper.

The first real chance of the game fell to Hemel after 19 minutes as Jamal Lowe did well to stand up a cross to Hawkins at the back post, but the big striker’s downward header was blocked bravely by Sutton keeper Ross Warner.

Willy Gnahore was named man of the match in Hemel Town's FA Cup clash with Sutton United. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Willy Gnahore was named man of the match in Hemel Town's FA Cup clash with Sutton United. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

That prompted Sutton into action at the other end and Hemel keeper Jamie Butler had to be alert to tip a powerful header from Kevin Amankwaah over the bar from close range.

The opening goal came in the 27th minute, and it was a thing of beauty from the hosts. Ivorian forward Willy Gnahore played a delightful ball inside to Jamal Lowe, who cut it back for skipper Potton to gleefully fire home with aplomb into the far corner of the net.

Sutton had the opportunity to restore parity a few minutes later when Stern was teed up on the edge of the area, but his low drive was kept out by the outstretched leg of Butler.

The first half finished on an unsavoury note as Ben Herd was booked for a crude scything tackle on Tom Bolarinwa, but the Sutton players, fans and management team were adamant that the challenge was worthy of a red card.

The first chance of the second half fell to Hemel as man of the match Gnahore jinked his way across the edge of the area before firing an effort just wide of the far upright with Warner beaten.

But it was the visitors who began to get on top and they deservedly levelled the scores on 54 minutes as Stern cut inside Stern and unleashed a fierce strike past Butler into the top corner of the net.

The goal clearly buoyed the visitors as they began to dominate proceedings, but Hemel weathered the storm well with the introduction of vastly experienced duo Matty Spring and Dennis Oli in place of Jack Smith and Hawkins.

Chances were few and far between as the game wound towards its conclusion, but Hemel had a golden opportunity to win it late on as Herd received the ball unmarked at the back post, only to see Warner come out and block his shot to ensure the game ended all square.

Hemel Hempstead Town: 1 Jamie Butler, 2 Ben Herd, 3 Kyle Connolly, 4 Matty Harriott, 5 Josh Hill, 6 Ed Oshodi, 7 James Potton (c), 8 Jack Smith (12 Spring, 65), 9 Oliver Hawkins (15 Oli, 65), 10 Wilfried Gnahore (16 Michael Richens, 87), 11 Jamal Lowe. Subs: 14 Terrell Forbes, 17 Xavier Comas Leon, 18 Michael Ogboro.

Sutton United: 1 Ross Warner, 2 Kevin Amankwaah, 3 Dan Wishart (14 Craig Dundas, 79), 4 Simon Downer, 5 Shaun Cooper (16 Spence, 79), 6 Jamie Collins (c), 7 Tom Bolarinwa, 8 Craig Eastmond, 9 Craig McAllister, 10 Dan Fitchett (12 Fleetwood, 76), 11 Ross Stern. Subs: 15 Louis John, 17 Dean Beckwith, 18 Wayne Shaw.

Attendance: 707.