New Tudors’ boss Joe Deeney faced one of his biggest challenges since taking over at Vauxhall Road tonight (Tuesday) when his charges hosted top-six side and derby rivals Wealdstone.
In front of the third-largest home crowd of the season, it proved to be a test too far as Hemel’s high-flying opponents ran out 1-0 winners.
The visitors took the lead in the 33rd minute after some static defending saw Wealdstone nod in a simple goal to take the lead into the break. Stones took a short corner and Hemel were fast asleep when a routine cross was nodded in by David Pratt without a challenge from a Hemel man.
After that, in truth, Hemel never looked like rescuing a point as Stones held them at arms length for long periods of the match.
Hemel went into this National League South clash in ninth place, having moved up seven rungs to ninth and just a point outside the playoff places since Deeney took charge earlier this month.
Tonight’s result leaves them back in 12th spot.
Deeney made three changes to the side that beat Gloucester City on Saturday, bringing in Kyle Connolly in defence at the expense of Lloyd Doyley and putting Scotty Shulton and new arrival Tom Knowles in midfield for Samuel Murphy and James Kaloczi.
Hemel have secured the services of 20-year-old winger Knowles on loan until January 2019.
He has signed on a youth loan registration from League Two side Cambridge United. Tom has already played National League South football before, having previously been loaned to Dartford where he made three appearances.
Next up for the Tudors is a trip to bottom-but-one side Eastbourne Borough. Hemel did the double over the Essex side last term, beating them 1-0 on the road at Rookery Hill and triumphing 2-0 back at Vauxhall Road.
Hemel v Wealdstone: Laurie Walker, Joe Howe, Kyle Connolly, Jordan Parkes (captain), Darren Ward, Ismail Yakubu, Scotty Shulton, Kavan Cotter, Steve Cawley (Matteo Mendy, 77 mins), Rob Sinclair, Tom Knowles. Subs not used: Ollie Swain, Alex Osborn, James Kaloczi, George Paulin.