Leamington’s impressive run comes to a sticky end at Hemel

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD 1 BRAKES 0

Brakes’ promising run came to an end at Vauxhall Road on Saturday, with a goal 17 minutes from time sealing victory for ten-man Hemel, writes Paul Edwards.

Heavy overnight rain had not helped the condition of the pitch, which was being rolled as the team arrived, but both sides made a bright start.

Hemel had the first clearcut chance of the game, Tony Breeden pushing over a fierce drive from Ryan Blake.

Luke Corbett looked to have a good chance as he burst into the penalty area, but his shot was diverted behind off the legs of keeper Mark Osborn.

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Both sides were committed to attack, but chances were scarce. James Husband drove across the area and then sent another shot at Osborn, while Brakes were thankful to Breeden for keeping out a Ryan Ashe drive.

There were a couple of early flashpoints in the second half, leading to yellow cards being brandished by the referee.

Leamington continued to press forward without creating any clearcut opportunities. Liam Daly got a vital challenge in to deny Marvin Williams a clear run on goal, and then pushed up field to head just wide.

The home side were reduced to ten men in the 70th minute when Fiston Manuella was shown a second yellow card for a crude challenge on Neil Barnfield.

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Things almost got worse for the hosts when Corbett’s cross was met by a powerful close-range header from Jamie Hood, but the ball was somehow diverted over the bar by Osborn.

Leamington were still wondering how they were not in front when Hemel broke to open the scoring. An unfortunate slip by Daly on the sticky pitch left Dennis Fennmore free to slide his shot past Breeden.

Paul Holleran threw on Jacob Blyth alongside Corbett and James Rowe, and the youngster flashed a shot narrowly wide, while Michael Tuohy was booked for diving after going down in the box.

With the game now being played almost exclusively in the Hemel half, Daly’s ball into the penalty area was volleyed against the crossbar by Blyth, with Rowe heading the rebound over.

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The home side then had a strong penalty shout of their own waved away.

Leamington continued to pile forward, and Tuohy’s drive was deflected just over the bar.

Rowe thought he had been impeded when he turned between two defenders inside the area, but again there was no whistle, and Corbett headed on to the top of the net from an acute angle.

Hemel Hempstead Town: Mark Osborn, Danny May, Ryan Parsons, Dave Gilbert, Steve Butler, Matt McEntergart, Fiston Manuella, Ryan Ashe, Dennis Fennemore (Scott Thomas, 81), Marvin Williams (Danilson Vicente, 89), Ryan Blake. Subs not used: Mike McEntergart, Ben Islam, Sonny French.

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Brakes: Tony Breeden, Scott Lycett, Michael Tuohy, Lee Downes, Jamie Hood, Liam Daly (Chris Knight, 89), Alex Taylor (Jamie Sheldon, 68), James Rowe, Neil Barnfield, Luke Corbett, James Husband (Jacob Blyth, 76). Subs not used: Stephan Morley, Lee Williams.