Hemel Hempstead Town emerged victorious on Saturday for the first time since August 7 when they beat bottom side Weston-super-Mare, who were reduced to ten men after a sending off in the 31st minute.
The Tudors won 2-1 on the road at winless Weston after a brace from summer signing Phil Roberts, the winner coming in the 79th minute as the Hemel fans breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Roberts had put Hemel in front in the 14th minute at the Woodspring Stadium but ten-man Weston equalised in the fourth minute of added time in the first-half -- the last kick of the period -- to make it difficult for the visitors.
Hemel’s Calaum Martin went close early on, darting inside after picking up a headed clearance from Weston keeper Luke Purnell, but the Seagulls stopper smothered the shot as it went out for a corner. From the corner, Purnell prevented Billy Clifford on the line and after momentarily clearing, Martin curled it over the bar.
The Tudors broke the deadlock four minutes later when Martin dispossessed Ben Swallow and drove forward on the counter. He fed Roberts, who slipped the ball past Purnell and into the corner to give the Tudors the lead and register his first goal for his new club. It was also the Tudors first goal in 194 minutes of football
Herschel Sanchez Watt’s dinked effort was then well-saved by Purnell after being played through by Steve Cawley. Purnell spread himself well to deny the ex-Arsenal youngster.
Weston got a chance a minute later when Swallow’s long, diagonal ball to George Nurse was cushioned down for Jarrad Welch, who shielded the returning Lloyd Doyley -- his first game since August 25 -- but Welch fired over from 18 yards.
Welch again got another sight of goal when Swallow again started the move, edging inside and finding Jacob Cane. The Weston skipper moved the ball to Welch, who stood up Doyley and as soon as he got a sight of goal, the Welshman curled inches wide of the top corner.
Jason Pope was given a second yellow card just past the half-hour mark, bringing Roberts down on the edge of the area. It was a dangerous decision considering he had brought Roberts down with a late challenge just three minutes before, the referee showing no hesitation in brandishing a second yellow to send-off the centre-back.
Cawley’s shot from 25 yards was then parried by Purnell, with Roberts tapping into an empty net, but it was ruled out for offside.
Cane went close in the 43rd minute, substitute Jamie Lucas knocking a Nurse cross down for the skipper before he blazed over the top.
Nurse’s cross was then flicked clear by Kyle Connolly and recent loan signing Brad Ash brought the ball down before firing wide from a tight angle.
A Weston equaliser came with the last kick of the first-half, Welch’s free-kick finding Cane and he took one touch to bring the ball under his control before poking it past Hemel net man Laurie Walker.
In the second period, Welch’s 25 yard free-kick was palmed away by Walker, before Purnell prevented Roberts at the other end.
James Kaloczi then hit the post with the goal gaping from the rebound.
Roberts again had another chance, tapping wide of Purnell’s goal after the Seagulls’ custodian had spilled a powerful drive from substitute Jordan Parkes. Lucas went close at the other end, muscling his way past Clifford and seeing his 25-yarder tipped round the post by the excellent Walker.
Hemel got the winner when a Walker goal kick was knocked down by Weston’s Matt Bower in an attempt to clear. The ball fell kindly for Roberts, who set himself well and curled into the corner from outside the area to calm the Tudors’ nerves.
Purnell pushed a Clifford effort away minutes before the end, before sub Karl Oliyide dragged wide while one-on-one.
Martin’s left-footed effort was held by Purnell deep into injury time.
The victory pushed Hemel up two spots in the National League South table to 15th.
Next up for the Tudors is a trip to the Len Salmon Stadium in Essex for an FA Cup second qualifying round clash at Isthmian League North Division side Bowers and Pitsea next Saturday. Bowers are currently in second place in their league, just two points off the leaders but after only four games. They are undefeated so far in the league this term and have a 100 per cent winning record at home.
Their next league action is on Saturday, September 29th, when they host 17th-placed Oxford City at Vauxhall Road.
Hemel v Weston: Laurie Walker, Lloyd Doyley, Kyle Connolly, Billy Clifford, Darren Ward, Ismail Yakubu, Steve Cawley (Karl Oliyide, 75 mins), James Kaloczi (Jordan Parkes, 68 mins), Phil Roberts, Herschel Sanchez Watt, Calaum Martin. Subs not used: Tom Hamblin, Spencer McCall, Alex Osborn.