Hemel Hempstead Town booked a place in the semi-final of the Herts Charity Cup last night (Tuesday) when they survived a nervy last few minutes before triumphing 3-2 at Potters Bar Town.
The Tudors’ side had a sprightly look, with several youth Academy players picked to start alongside half-a-dozen first-teamers against the Isthmian League Premier Division outfit.
Last week’s new additions Arthur Read and Keiran Monlouis were also in the starting line-up for Hemel.
They just edged past Potters Bar in the end after the hosts threw the kitchen sink at them in the dying minutes.
Up to that point it had been fairly comfortable for boss Joe Deeney’s side, but the recent squandering of two-goal leads had the Tudors’ faithful on the edge of their seats.
Hemel went in front with just a minute on the clock when recent signing Leon Lobjoit finished well from the edge of the box.
If the small group of away fans were expecting a goal-fest after this bright start, it never arrived and the remainder of the first-half remained fairly even.
Striker Lobjoit added a second goal midway through the second period before a defensive mix-up let Dernell Wynter in on 64 minutes for Potters Bar’s first of the evening.
Skipper-for-the-night Tom Hamblin then volleyed home a superb third goal on 78 minutes, but Hemel do like to do things the hard way of late and they allowed Potters Bar to reduce the deficit again through Keegan Cole on 87 minutes.
Then followed a period of pressure which included a hectic goalmouth scramble in the Tudors’ six-yard box but the visitors were able to survive.
They will head to Hertingfordbury Park to face Isthmian League South Central side Hertford in the semi-final, on a date to be announced.
Hemel: George Paulin, Joel Nmeda, Jake Baker, Scott Shulton, Tom Hamblin (captain), Oliver Swain, Arthur Read, Keiran Monlouis, Matteo Mendy, Leon Lobjoit, Jack Snelus. Subs: Sam Slott, Sydney Ibie, Bruce Tsinonis, Magoire Muyembe and Brad Russell.
This Saturday Hemel return to National League South action with a crucial clash when the 13th-placed Tudors travel to 12th-ranked Slough Town.
The return fixture in late October ended in a 1-1 draw at Vauxhall Road.