Hemel Hempstead Town (1) 1 Bath City (0) 0 – Tuesday 6 December 2022 – Vanarama National League South – Vauxhall Road
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Elliott Romain’s first half strike was enough to separate Hemel Hempstead and Bath City on Tuesday night.
The on-loan forward made it two goals in two games for his temporary club, shooting through Josh Gould’s legs when Dominic Morgan-Griffiths’ cross was glanced into his path by Josh Castiglione.
Elliott Frear hit the bar in the second half and substitute Tom Smith had a goal disallowed for offside as the Romans enjoyed enough possession after the break.
But they failed to score for a second successive away game, leaving them three without a win in National League South.
Jerry Gill was without five regulars for the trip to Hertfordshire with Jordan Dyer suspended, Cody Cooke, Alex Fletcher and Joe Raynes injured plus Chris Lines only making up the numbers on the bench, which also included academy full-back Ben Ford.
Scott Wilson dashed away inside five minutes from a Rex Mannings flick but delayed to shoot and was crowded out, before Frear’s follow-up was deflected wide by Kyle Ajayi.
Castiglione’s hanging free-kick nudged towards goal by Andrew Eleftheriou but Dan Hayfield was on hand to clear from near the line to avert any panic.
Hemel grew in confidence as half-time approached and their pressure was rewarded with an opener on 38 minutes.
Morgan-Griffiths’ right wing cross took the slightest touch off Castiglione to Romain, who appeared to control with an arm before driving under Gould from six yards.
Mannings squandered a chance to equalise before the break when Gould’s free-kick was nodded into his path by Callum Ebanks, but the recalled midfielder shot too close to David Saunders who denied him with his legs.
The Romans’ best chance of the night arrived five minutes after the restart.
Ebanks shrugged off Ajayi from Jack Batten’s free-kick from deep and unselfishly pulled back to Frear. The winger tee himself up but volleyed against the bar with only Saunders to beat before the hosts eventually scrambled clear.
City’s defence dealt well with the lively Brooklyn Illunga to prevent many scares on their goal as Dan Greenslade coped admirably against the wideman’s speed and trickery, one of his crosses evading Gianni Crichlow who arrived late on the scene.
Morton’s goalbound effort was blocked by the well-placed Jack Westbrook before two tight calls went in the Tudors’ favour to incense Gill’s side.
Morgan-Griffiths appeared to unintentionally graze the ball with his studs when feigning to take a free-kick which Ebanks dashed on to, but referee Aaron Farmer pulled play back to claim he hadn’t connected.
Smith’s tidy finish from a tight angle was adjudged offside, the ball falling to him after Wilson’s curler was well gloved away by Saunders.
Despite sending Batten into attack for the closing stages no more clear openings fell to the visitors, consigning them to a frustrating defeat, their third in a row at Vauxhall Road.
City’s Line-Up: Gould, Greenslade, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Frear, Spokes, Mannings (Smith 74), Wilson, Morton, Ebanks. Subs not used: Clarke, Lines, Ford.
Scorers: City – none; Hemel – Romain (38)
City Bookings: Ebanks (25), Greenslade (45+2)
Officials: A Farmer, A Kadir, J Aldous