High fives as Tudors thrash Chippenham to keep FA Cup dreams alive

Lewis Toomey in action for Hemel. Picture (c) Darren Kelly
Lewis Toomey in action for Hemel. Picture (c) Darren Kelly

Hemel Hempstead Town moved one step closer to the FA Cup first round when they dumped Southern League side Chippenham Town out of the competition with a display of clinical finishing.

A 5-0 scoreline failed to tell the full story of a third qualifying round tie at Hardenhuish Park, with Mark Collier’s side creating more than their fair share of opportunities and enjoying multiple spells of healthy possession.

But Hemel, last season’s Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division champions, emphatically booked their place in the next round of the competition.

The Tudors threatened with just a few minutes on the clock, with Lewis Toomey superbly played in on goal, but the striker dallied and after failing to pull the trigger, saw Bluebirds goalie Kent Kauppinen dive low to gather the ball.

With around 10 minutes on the clock, Chippenham’s Luke Ballinger dragged his finish wide of the mark after getting on the end of Jordan Roberts’ incisive through ball.

Midway through the half, an awkward bobble caught out the Chippenham defence, allowing Toomey the opportunity to lob home over the head of Kauppinen to give Hemel the lead.

The Hemel sucker-punch quickly turned into a quick-fire one-two as the visitors scored their second just moments later, with James Potton slotting home from the right of the area to make it 2-0.

Chippenham were left wondering just how they found themselves behind and, with just over five minutes of the first period remaining, the home crowd were left baying for red card as Ballinger went down following an off-the-ball clash with Daniel Talbot.

But after consulting at length his assistant, referee Simon Knapp decided to book both players.

When play finally resumed, Roberts had a strike deflected just wide of the target and from the resulting corner, Greg Tindle failed to capitalise as he nodded James Guthrie’s delivery over from the bar from a great position.

Hemel goalie Laurie Walker was forced to tip Conor McCormack’s swerving cross over the bar as the home side went into the break two goals down.

Early in the second period, Roberts drew a fantastic reaction save from Walker as he headed goalwards from a Guthrie cross before the Hemel keeper kept out Chippenham once again moments later, getting his body in the way of Alex Ferguson’s diving header, with Guthrie again providing the delivery.

Near the hour mark, Roberts worked his way to the byline down the right flank and his drilled cross deflected into the path of Guthrie at the far post but the winger couldn’t react quickly enough and blasted wide with his weaker right foot.

But with 63 minutes on the clock, Hemel extended their lead as a sublime first-time ball over the top of the Chippenham defence dropped into the path of Toomey, who produced another perfectly-weighted lob to net his second of the afternoon and the Tudors’ third.

As the tie wore on, midfielder Daly thumped an effort not far wide of the post before Hemel’s Jamal Lowe passed up the chance to get himself on the scoresheet, heading high and wide from fellow substitute Leon Lobjoit’s ball into the box.

But moments later, Lobjoit did make an impact just minutes after coming off the bench, with the winger’s low strike knocked away by Kauppinen before Potton crashed the rebound against the crossbar, the ball bouncing kindly for Lobjoit, who fired home to make it 4-0.

Toby Osman’s goalbound strike was cleared off the line by Kyle Connelly before Tudors skipper Jordan Parkes cracked home a superb fifth for his side, with the midfielder driving forward past a host of challenges before smashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner to complete the scoring.

The draw for the next round takes place on Monday morning at 10.30 and can be heard on Colin Murray’s Show on TalkSport which starts at 10am.