Hertfordshire Senior Challenge Cup Final.
Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Boreham Wood 0,
by John Mead.
The Tudors won back the Trophy they ceded to Wood the previous year courtesy of a superb trademark Jordan Parkes free kick after 66 minutes.
There was little to choose between the two sides in a match that was devoid of any crowd pleasing action, pretty much in its entirety. Defences reigned supreme, with Hemel flooding the midfield on an evening where a decent sized crowd were left longing for something to celebrate.
Both managers made changes to their starting line ups. Ben Martin replaced Josh Hill in defence, whilst Daryl McMahon returned to action in place of Graeme Montgomery. Up front Ian Allinson was without the services of Lee Angol who is nursing a hamstring, with Charlie Walker making only his second start for the club.
Wood were the better side in the first half, yet struggled to create any incisive attacking play
With 38 minutes played the crowd witnessed the first shot on target from either side. Junior Morias sent a looping ball forward from the right which Walker took down superbly in his stride before finding the Town shot stopper Jamie Head in superb form.
After the interval Parkes delivered a free kick from the right that was destined for the top corner of the net, with James Russell on hand to repel. Hemel enjoyed their best spell of the game with a lucky bounce on an awful pitch favouring Nicke Kabamba who tested Russell. Wood survived a string of Hemel corners with ease, given the superb displays of Callum Reynolds and Ben Herd on the evening.
It all went wrong for Wood when they conceded a free kick in Parkes territory after 65 minutes. Up stepped the Tudors leading scorer and from twenty eight yards out he curled a superb effort over the wall into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Thereafter The Tudors consolidated their slender lead, with the Wood attack listless thanks to a solid and commanding performance from the Town back four, which housed the main contenders for man of the match on an evening that will not live long in the memories of the Wood contingent, who made up a fair slice of the crowd of just under 400.
Ian Allinson conceded defeat after the game. “ I thought they were slightly better than us on the evening. The pitch was not conducive to playing football and that was a shame for both sides. I am disappointed to lose going into an extremely difficult and important phase of the season, where we need to be absolutely on top form with the play offs coming up. With that in mind I made sure I got minutes into the squad tonight as we all need to be in tip top condition. For the same reason I could not risk Lee Angol. We should have had enough about us to win the game but they obviously coped with the pitch better than us and well done to them. Obviously it is not nice losing a Cup Final but we need to rebuild and look forward to ten days time now when we go to Chelmsford for our last League match.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Herd, Cox, Martin, Reynolds, Thomas (Montgomery 76), Shakes, Walker ( Angol 76), Morias, McMahon ( Whichelow 64).
Subs not used: Hill, Garrard.
Wood Man Of The Match: Callum Reynolds.