City draw little comfort from Hemel stalemate

City and Hemel Hempstead Town played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Vauxhall Road this evening that will have helped the home side’s play-off ambitions more than the Romans. Both goals came in the opening 20 minutes. It was City who struck first on 14 minutes from their first chance, having spent the opening exchanges very much on the back-foot, when Anthony Straker’s strong run forward saw him set up Sean Rigg to net with a well-struck shot from 18 yards. Six minutes later Watts evaded Straker’s challenge to race clear and stab the ball past Luke Southwood. Sean Rigg should have restored City’s lead when he was clean through on goal, only for Walker to block his effort, and Southwood then had to be at his best to deny McCall. Inbetween Jack Compton’s stunning 25-yard volley found the net but not before the linesman had raised an offside flag. Chances continued to fall at both ends but the game reached the interval still level. The second half failed to match the entertainment level of the first, with an early free-kick comfortably saved by Southwood before Dan Ball’s close range effort was blocked by Tudors keeper Walker. After this the two sides continued to look for a winning goal but both were guilty of a lack of quality in the final third of the pitch and, in the end, a draw was the fair result. The point leaves City five points adrift of seventh-placed Welling United who they travel to on Friday afternoon.