10-man Hemel on hand to leave City frustrated again

Yet another costly penalty miss meant it was frustrating afternoon at Twerton Park as City and Hemel Hempstead Town ground out a goalless draw. The pivotal moment came just past the hour mark when Spring blocked Nick McCootie’s shot on the goalline with his arm. He received a straight red card but City failed to exact the proper recourse when Nat Jarvis’ penalty kick was kept out by Walker. And after this his teammates regrouped to make his sacrifice even more worthwhile, comfortably keeping City at bay and twice coming close to grabbing all three points. The first half had seen little in the way of excitement as both sides struggled keep possession. City twice had two-on-one breaks but McCootie then Jarvis held onto the ball too long and the danger passed. They also looked to have won a penalty late in the half when Andy Watkins was tripped in the box but the referee, who time and again left City baffled with his decisions, booked the no.11 for a dive. Hemel also spurned a couple of good chances but it took a confrontation between Walker and McCootie to finally bring the game to life on 59 minutes. The striker chased what looked to be a lost cause to win a corner and in the aftermath Hemel’s keeper was lucky to only see yellow for pushing his head into McCootie’s face. This meant he was still on the pitch to deny Jarvis from 12-yards moments later and then keep out Matt Richards’ 25-yard free kick that looked destined for the top corner. Inbetween, Luke Southwood produced an equally good save to turn Osborn’s shot over the bar. He also blocked Hoskins’ close range effort but the closing stages were largely spent in the Hemel half. However, the closest City came to scoring was a diving header from Watkins that flew inches the wrong side of the post.