Brackley Town 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 0
HEMEL Town were dealt a double dose of disappointment over the Easter weekend as they were beaten by Brackley on Saturday, before seeing their match with Oxford City called off on Monday.
The weekend always looked set to be a tricky one for the Tudors against two of the top Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division sides, and things started badly for Mark Eaton’s team with a 3-0 loss at Brackley.
The relegation-threatened Tudors were hoping to make amends by causing an upset against Oxford City at Vauxhall Road on Monday, but persistent rain saw the match postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The weekend plunges Hemel further into the relegation mire, with the Tudors now sitting second-from-bottom and five points adrift of safety.
They do have a game in hand over their relegation rivals, and will need to capitalise on that if they are to avoid the dreaded drop.
The Tudors went into Saturday’s clash with table-topping Brackley on the back of a promising run of form which had seen them go four matches unbeaten.
Lewis Toomey and Ryan Blake both returned to the club following loan spells, as manager Eaton looked to bolster his attacking options ahead of the crucial run-in.
There was a cautious optimism that Hemel may be able to take something from their lofty opponents – but hope was quickly diminished as Elliot Sandy gave the hosts a 12th minute lead from the penalty spot.
And things went from bad to worse for Hemel a minute before half-time as Gary Mulligan doubled the Brackley lead.
From then on, there was only going to be one winner, and Marvin Robinson hit the hosts’ third goal in the 65th minute to wrap up the comfortable win for his side.
Town knew they needed to lift themselves quickly if they were to take something from the game against Oxford, but in the end it was the weather which ensured it remained a fruitless bank holiday weekend for the Vauxhall Road side.
The Tudors now have four league games remaining to turn their disappointing campaign around and preserve their Southern Premier Division status.
Next up for Eaton’s side is a trip to seventh-placed Leamington on Saturday – a fixture which, realistically, they must take something from if they are going to stay up.
Following that, the Tudors face must-win games against fellow strugglers Bashley and Cirencester Town, as well as the rearranged fixture against Oxford City.
Details on that game will be announced shortly.