On the back of three consecutive clean sheets, United welcomed free scoring Hemel Hempstead Town to York Road as Tristan Lewis’s side looked to continue their excellent run of results having earned seven points from nine since under the newly appointed manager.
The Tudors started well and went close on two occasions early on, the first being well blocked in the box by Lewis Ferrell and the second, a curler from distance, only just missing the far corner. United however were soon to go even closer, a poorly kicked clearance from Tudors ‘keeper Laurie Walker went straight to Luke Williams who slid the ball back towards goal only for Walker to recover and dive to push the ball away a yard from goal.
United were in front though minutes later. Ferrell found Greg Morgan on the right, he tricked his way to the bye-line and pulled the ball back to the near post where George McLennan arrived to fire the ball past Walker from six yards.
Grant Smith was soon into action in the United goal when former skipper Matty Harriott’s centre was met by Oliver Hawkins, the United stopper diving full stretch to his left to push the header away for a corner that was to bring an equaliser when a near post flick by Dominic Hyam fell to Zane Banton who fired past Smith.
Minutes later the visitors were ahead. Emmanuel Monthe allowed Banton to take possession on the right wing which drew a foul from Christian Smith just outside the box on the right. Tudors skipper Jordan Parkes took the kick and curled the ball into near the top corner of Smith’s net.
Jim Fenlon’s ball from halfway found Elliot Benyon who neatly turned past Hyam in the box, his shot aimed for the top corner of Walker’s net just missing the target.
Two minutes after the break saw the visitors double their lead. A deep cross being inadvertently headed over Grant Smith and against his own crossbar by namesake Christian, the rebound dropping down nicely to Hawkins who beat Fenlon to the ball and tapped home from a couple of feet out.
Hawkins should have had another minutes later when he won the race to a long punt through the middle and with only Smith to beat smashed his shot over the crossbar. Next a long punt from Walker found its way to Dennis Oli on the edge of the United box, his curling effort being held by Smith with some ease.
United were back in it on 67 minutes when two substitutes combined. Rhys Murrell-Williamson broke down the left, his centre deceived Walker in the Tudors goal presenting the arriving Robbie Matthews with a debut tap in from about a yard out.
Hemel’s own substitute James Potton went close soon after, his dipping shot just too high and then it was 4-2 minutes later when Oli and Potton combined on the right just inside the United area, the latter rolling the ball across to the unmarked Hawkins for his second tap-in of the game.
Hemel continued to push for more as Oli twice went close, the first clearing the crossbar and the second albeit on target was well swept off the line by Dean Inman while for United a surge from the back by Christian Smith saw him unleash a drive from 30 yards that only just cleared the Hemel goal.
Dominic Green and Benyon then combined on the right to create an opening for Luke Williams, his shot with his weaker left flying across Walker but wide of the far post and the game ended in a first defeat for United with Tristan at the helm.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: George McLennan.