Hemel Hempstead Town (0) 0 Bath City (0) 0 – Tuesday 21 November 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Vauxhall Road
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Despite a plethora of chances, the Romans failed to break the deadlock at Hemel Hempstead in an entertaining goalless draw.
Jordan Thomas hit the post early as City dominated the first half against a home side smarting from Saturday’s humiliating FA Trophy exit to Walsall Wood.
Hemel could have stolen three points late on when Joe Re crashed a stinging effort against the bar.
It would have harsh on Jerry Gill’s side who oversaw a 93rd clean sheet during his tenure – a record for a post-War manager for Bath City.
City started on the front foot and were unlucky to not break the deadlock on six minutes when Jordan Thomas cut inside from the right and his rasping drive cannoned back off the upright.
Cody Cooke was inches away from flicking home the recalled Ewan Clark’s teasing cross as Hemel had their work cut out from City’s flying wingers.
Wilson produced two shots on target in quick succession which Craig King was equal to before Hemel’s first opening saw Daniel Powell race away from Joe Iaciofano’s flick before firing narrowly wide.
Thomas’ curler from 20 yards arced just over the angle of post and bar with King beaten just before the end of a captivating half with Hemel more relieved at the stalemate.
Hemel decided to throw caution to the wind and pushed their wing-backs further forward from the restart, which left them suspectable on the counter.
It proved more difficult for the Romans to create openings with the visitors pressing higher. Dan Hayfield wormed into space and tried to dink the ball over the grounded King from a tight angle but the ball landed just off target.
King showed sharp reactions to block Thomas at his near post and Clark had a goal chalked off for offside following a few ricochets in the box.
Hemel’s well-organised defensive display was nearly rewarded as they had enough in reserve for a strong finish. Their three key chances all arrived in the final 10 minutes as they threatened to end City’s three-game unbeaten run.
Josh Williams’ half volley flashed across the box with no killer touch before Re’s thumping effort from 20 yards cannoned across the crossbar with Will Buse beaten.
A stunning intervention from Jordan Dyer kept a shutout intact when Iaciofano’s goalbound strike was denied by the head of the back-tracking defender.
It was the final chance of City’s first goalless draw since March but there were enough signs that they won’t be stopped regularly this term.
City’s Line-Up: Buse, Greenslade, Dyer, Batten (Raynes 60), Parselle (c), Clark, Hayfield, Cooke, Thomas, Wilson, Russe. Subs not used: Smith, Frear, Lines, Morgan.
Scorers: City – none; Hemel – none
City Bookings: Thomas (90+2)
Officials: A Byrne, R Preca, T Breen