Hemel Hempstead Town 1 Chesham United 1
NEW Tudors manager Tommy Widdrington made a promising start to life in the Vauxhall Road hot seat as Hemel recorded a 1-1 draw at home to Chesham United.
Town took the lead after 53 minutes courtesy of a Marquin Smith effort, but Simon Thomas earned a point for Chesham with an equaliser 15 minutes from time.
There were encouraging signs for Widdrington’s Hemel side, who dominated large periods of the game, particularly in the second 45 minutes.
The result also sees Hemel climb off the foot of the table – leapfrogging Cirencester Town.
And boss Widdrington said he was satisfied with his side’s performance.
“On the balance of play I was a bit disappointed not to get all three points,” he said.
“But then you look at it and one team is at the top of the league and the other isn’t so you have to see it as a point gained.
“The things I thought needed to be implemented were done and I am pleased with the way that the players have reacted to me coming in.
“There is still a lot to be worked on and I’m going to start to put my stamp on the team in the next couple of weeks.”
The Tudors started the game brightly, with Scott Fitzgerald denied on a couple of occasions by Chesham keeper Shane Gore.
And Gore was in action again as the half progressed, reacting smartly to keep out an effort from Ryan Blake.
In a half where the visitors lacked any real potency up front, Leon Archer had the best of the Chesham chances, but he could not direct his header goalwards.
Hemel came out strongly after the interval and Fitzgerald came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock as he saw his flicked effort strike the crossbar.
And minutes later, the Tudors were rewarded for their persistence as Ryan Blake’s cross found Marquin Smith, and the Hemel man volleyed home.
The goal, though, seemed to spark some life into the visitors and Hemel keeper Nick Bussey was forced into a superb save from Anthony Watson’s header.
Blake then squandered the chance to double the Hemel lead and he was punished for the miss as Thomas levelled the scores.
Leon Archer put the ball across to Thomas and he poked home to set up a grandstand finish to the game.
It was Hemel who could have snatched the win deep into injury time, but Gore made a fine save to keep out Danny May’s free-kick and secure a point for his side.
The Tudors now have a fortnight without a game, with their next match coming on October 29 at Frome Town.
In the meantime, the club have a reserve fixture on Saturday against last year’s Suburban champions AFC Wimbledon.
As the first team game against Evesham has been postponed due to their involvement in the FA Cup, it is expected that the reserve team will be strengthened with first team players.