Hemel Town slipped to a 1-0 defeat in the FA Trophy 3rd round qualifying tie replay at Bognor Regis Town last night (Tuesday).
The Tudors missed the opportunity to advance to the first round proper of the national competition after Bognor’s Ibra Sekajja’s fine goal in the 71st minute was enough to beat Hemel at a cold Nyewood Lane.
The replay came about after the two sides drew 1-1 at Vauxhall Road on Saturday with the winner drawn against Southern League Division One West outfit Taunton Town.
Hemel begun brightly and Spencer McCall’s cross went astray right at the beginning as keeper Dan Lincoln got to it first.
Then Bognor’s Jimmy Muitt chased down a forward ball, looking to win a corner but instead inadvertently gave away a goal kick.
Keaton Wood did well to deny Hemel new man Antonio German’s fierce strike when he slid in to block him.
Sekajja gave the ball away cheaply in midfield but David Moyo, starting for the first time since suffering a broken toe in August, sent a cross-field ball out of play with German in pursuit.
Hemel’s Scotty Shulton forced Lincoln into the first save of the night on six minutes. He cut inside on his right foot before firing a shot low from outside the box.
Doug Tuck slipped a neat ball in for Sekajja but his cross was cleared for a corner. This was headed out but on the high rebound Tudors’ keeper Laurie Walker was impeded and a free-kick was awarded to the visitors.
On 14 minutes Moyo beat his marker before scooping a cross back across goal but even German at full height in the air failed to get contact on the ball and Tuck managed to clear the danger from the free-kick soon after.
In an early 15th-minute change for the Tudors, Matt Spring replaced Joe Howe who was nursing a hamstring problem.
Then Tommy Block was fouled. Calvin Davies’s lofted free-kick almost fell to the feet of Chad Field but Walker got their instead.
Hemel looked likelier to score at this point and skipper Jordan Parkes’s right-footed free-kick only just curled wide of the near post.
Walker had to dash out of his goal to head out Wood’s forward bouncing pass towards Sekajja moments later.
Muitt did all the hard work before cutting the ball back in search of Sekajja but the striker was ahead of the ball already and the danger was cleared by the Hemel defence.
A deflected Shulton chance committed Lincoln into a fine save low to his right. McCall followed up on the rebound with another chance but good reactions from Davies saw him block the attempt close to the back post.
James Kaloczi caught Sekajja late in a challenge and was the first to go into the referee’s book but when Davies chipped the ball in from a free-kick on 35 minutes, it was easily cleared away.
Field gave the ball away straight to Moyo who rushed on to force Lincoln into a near post save from a slight angle. McCall’s corner kick on the follow-up was knocked wide by Kaloczi.
On 44 minutes Ben Swallow’s forward free-kick was almost headed into his own net by Kaloczi. The dipping corner nearly fell into the path of Kristian Campbell but it was deflected away before Field got in the way of a clearance.
A slow starting second-half saw El-Abd and German get in an altercation on 50 minutes. The referee warned both players but avoided showing either a card.
Then Muitt did well to control the ball before passing to Swallow but his run was closed down. Davies capitalised on the loose ball but his low cross from the right was stopped by Walker.
Campbell got in the way of another cross from Hemel. The corner flew through the penalty area as Lincoln let it roll out for a goal kick.
On 61 minutes, Sekajja threaded a ball forward to Tuck, who with one touch beat the defender before shooting just wide of the far post with his left foot.
Swallow’s through ball then saw Sekajja on the run and he forced Walker into another save seconds later.
Sekajja went into the book for arguing a decision soon after and Block was also shown yellow card after a challenge.
Another hamstring issue for the Tudors saw centre-back Lloyd Doyley replaced by Tom Day on 67 minutes.
Swallow’s free-kick was knocked out to Tuck. From 25 yards he struck it quickly with his left boot but it was always rising over the bar.
Bognor took the lead on 71 minutes. It was Field’s lofted pass that split the defence and Sekajja was unmarked and ran on before prodding the ball on the rise beyond Walker.
In response, Spring’s chipped ball into the box rolled harmlessly out for a goal kick down the other end.
Shulton had another chance at goal on 79 minutes, forcing Lincoln into a save down to his left.
El-Abd then got in the way to deny Shulton seconds later.
On 83 minutes a sharp clearance saw Sekajja run onto the attack when he beat the last defender with ease, but with only Walker to beat, it was the Hemel netminder who came out on top with a crucial save.
Frustrations flared when Muitt had beaten Hemel substitute Ebby Nelson-Addy for pace inside Bognor’s half. Nelson-Addy perhaps caught the ankle of Muitt and the referee sent the Hemel player off with a straight red.
But in the aftermath, Bognor’s El-Abd was also given an early bath for complaining as tempers flared.
Two minutes into stoppage time Shulton swung the ball into the area but Kaloczi nodded it wide of the post.
Instantly down the other end Whyte’s chipped ball forward was won by Sekajja and his knock on overhead found Muitt. He ran on before shooting low and forcing Walker into another decent save.
Right at the death another Kaloczi header had to be pushed over the bar by Lincoln as the Rocks did enough to go through to the next round after five nervy minutes of stoppage time.
It’s back to league action this weekend as Hemel travel to 12th-ranked Bath City this Saturday. The last time the two sides met was in the FA Cup qualifying rounds on September 30 where Bath triumphed 3-0.