Hemel Hempstead Town 2
Bishop’s Stortford 1
What a difference a year has made for Hemel Hempstead Town FC.
This time last season, the Tudors were embroiled in a relegation dogfight. Now they are challenging for the league title and have booked their place in a cup final.
Tuesday night’s Herts Senior Challenge Cup semi-final win over Bishop’s Stortford demonstrated why the Tudors have made such great strides under manager Dean Brennan – showing a never-say-die attitude to fight back from a goal down to win the tie.
Following an even first half, it was Bishop’s Stortford who broke the deadlock after the break when Reece Prestedge beat the offside trap and fired low and hard into the back of the net.
Hemel thought they had been handed a way back into the game soon afterwards when Jordan Parkes was scythed down in the area as he bared down on goal – but to the dismay of Parkes and the watching Tudor faithful, the Hemel midfielder was booked for a dive.
Brennan’s team are made of stern stuff, however, and they did not let the bizarre decision get to them as they continued to press for an equaliser.
And it duly arrived late on when Peter Holmes and Dave Pearce combined well to set up winger Alex Campana to slam home.
The Tudors were not done there, though, and with extra-time looming, new man Ryan Charles spun and lashed home the winner with two minutes to spare.
The victory sets up a showdown with Potters Par Town in the final of the competition at the Herts County Ground in Letchworth. Potters Bar saw off Royston 2-2 after extra-time in Tuesday night’s other semi-final clash.