Tudors prove too good for the Saints in New Years Day derby

Oliver Hawkins heads home the opening goal against St Albans. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Oliver Hawkins heads home the opening goal against St Albans. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Hemel Hempstead Town started 2015 with a bang as they beat old rivals St Albans City 3-1 at Vauxhall Road on New Years Day.

Following a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day, the fierce foes met again and this time it was the Tudors who came out on top courtesy of goals from Oliver Hawkins, Jordan Parkes and substitute Dennis Oli.

The victory was no more than Hemel deserved after they dominated large periods of the game against a depleted St Albans side who were without leading scorer John Frendo.

Hemel Started the game brightly and duly took the lead inside 10 minutes when Parkes put a corner into the box, Saints keeper Tom Coulton flapped at it, and Hawkins was on hand to head home from close range.

Parkes and Mo Shariff were next to try their luck for Hemel, but neither could find the target, while St Albans came close to an equaliser as John Kyriacou fired just wide of the far post after a decent passage of play from the visitors.

It was 2-0 before half-time, and it was captain marvel Jordan Parkes who was on the mark again as he was fed by Sheriff to unleash a trademark long range strike into the corner of the net to put the hosts in command.

St Albans could have reduced the deficit before half-time, but the visitors were guilty of making a real mess of a 2-on-1 counter-attack, before a header from Hawkins came back of his own post in stoppage time.

The away side made a bright start to the second half, and defender Ian Gayle squandered a glorious opportunity to halve the arrears when he headed over the bar from six yards out.

Tudors boss Dean Brennan introduced Oli and Zane Banton from the bench in place of Hawkins and Sheriff, but minutes later St Albans struck to make it 2-1 as Cameron Lancaster leapt to head home past Hemel keeper Laurie Walker.

There was still more than a quarter of the game left to play, and St Albans started to press forward in search of an equaliser which so nearly came via the boot of Kyriacou whose effort whistled past the post.

Walker was called into action to deny Elliott Bailey as the St Albans man raced through on goal, before a stoppage time overhead kick from Steve Wales flew over the bar.

The visitors continued to believe that they would be able to force an equaliser, but it was Hemel who struck in stoppage time to put to bed any hopes of a Saints comeback.

Two substitutes combined as Banton teed up Oli on the penalty spot, and the big strike made no mistake – slotting home to make sure of the three points for the jubilant Tudors.