Hemel Hempstead Town 0 Oxhey Jets 1
THERE was yet more end-of-season disappointment for Hemel Town as they were beaten by MSSML Premier Division strugglers Oxhey Jets in the St Marys Cup final at Vauxhall Road.
After suffering relegation as a result of defeat on the last league game of the season, Hemel were hoping to give their supporters something to cheer about with victory over Oxhey – but a late Jets winner ensured that it was another fruitless day for the Tudors.
Both sides were hoping to end the season on a high, but in truth it was poor game with few chances at either end.
In an uneventful first half, Jets forward Luke Beardsworth fired a tame effort wide before Chris McKintyre saw his header fumbled away from danger by Tudors keeper Mike McEntegart.
At the other end, Hemel’s brightest passage came courtesy of Ryan Blake after Dave Pearce had played him through on goal – however Jets keeper Sam Styles stood up well to deny the Tudors winger.
With the scores locked at 0-0, the Tudors fans were hoping for a response from their team after the interval, but the second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with neither team managing to get their attacking play going.
Oxhey came the closest to forcing the opening goal, with Lewis Putman forcing McEntegart into a close range reflex save.
Hemel were struggling to find any forward momentum – perhaps drained from their gruelling league campaign – and two wayward free-kicks from right-back Danny May and another from Pearce were all they could muster.
Jets, undoubtedly delighted by the way they were matching their lofty opponents, continued to battle well and were rewarded with a deserved winner 10 minutes from time.
Putman played the ball across the edge of the area and full-back Andy Lomas arrived on cue to drill a superb effort into the corner to win the game and hand the trophy to the Jets.
Hemel will now be hoping for better news as they wait to hear whether or not they will be handed a reprieve against relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.
The Tudors are hopeful that their final league position – fourth from bottom – may be enough to save them from the drop as a result of restructuring and financing elsewhere.
The club may face a lengthy wait to find out their fate, however, with the Southern League AGM scheduled to take place on June 16.
If they are not given a reprieve, Hemel will have to start planning for life at level eight of the football pyramid next season.