Hemel Town’s bright start to the season was dimmed tonight (Tuesday) after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Concord Rangers.
Rangers finished below Hemel in the National League South standings last term.
Boss Dean Brennan picked an unchanged side from the team which beat Whitehawk 3-0 at Vauxhall Road on Saturday.
The first-half at The Aspect Arena in Canvey Island ended goalless and with the Rangers’ social media team having ‘Gremlin’ technical difficulties, for which it apologised, there was scant information about the opening-period action.
However, one spectator commented: “Rangers are playing much better than Saturday [when they lost 2-1 at Wealdstone], very attacking and passing well, just need to hit the net!”
The Concord Twitter account, by this stage back up and running, commented: “Rangers attacking well throughout the game so far. Hemel have also had chances but neither side able to break through yet.”
After the re-start, Hemel striker Charlie Sheringham missed a golden chance in the 49th minute and moments later the ball was up the other end where there were large cries for a hand ball in the Hemel box, but referee Jason Richardson waved away the appeals.
The very next move in the 50th minute saw Concord take the lead when a long ball was flicked into skipper Steve Cawley’s path in the penalty box and he hammered it home.
Concord number 9 Jordan Cox then had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 but he hit a shot wildly over the bar when well-placed just 10 yards out in the 55th minute.
Brennan had seen enough after 12 minutes of the second period so rang the changes. Summer signing Taylor Miles was brought off for Alex Osborn, who scored off the bench on Saturday, while Samuel Hatton was swapped for experienced defender Phil Walsh.
In response, Concord themselves changed tack, switching to three centre backs.
Shortly after, the hosts spurned another opportunity after a brilliant run by Kyron Farrell through the midfield. He laid it off to Lewis Taaffe whose fierce shot was well held by Tudors’ keeper Laurie Walker.
Brennan’s last roll of the tactical dice came in the 67th minute when he replaced Callum Driver with Kyle Connolly.
With less than 20 minutes to go Ben Greenhalgh’s quick feet earned Hemel a free-kick in a dangerous position but Concord managed to scramble it clear.
Shortly after, in the 75th minute, there were huge penalty claims by Hemel following a Dexter Peter challenge in the box, but referee Richardson was unmoved.
With ten minutes to go in-form Greenhalgh was really starting to exert his influence on the game and Concord were clinging on to the lead.
Hemel had a last-gasp chance at the death inside the four minutes of injury time. The ball was clipped into the box but a header at the far post went just wide.
Most watchers conluded that it was a bit ‘hairy’ at the end for the hosts as Hemel dominated but it was too little too late as the Beachboys held on for the win.
Hemel: Laurie Walker, Callum Driver, Joe Howe, Jordan Parkes (captain), Tom Hamblin, Ismail Yakubu, James Koloczi, Taylor Miles, Samuel Hatton, Charlie Sheringham and Ben Greenhalgh. Subs: Kyle Connolly, Johnny McNamara, Phil Walsh, Alex Osborn, Charlie May.