Hemel Town’s revival under new boss Joe Deeney hit a stumbling block on Saturday after the Tudors went down 2-1 at Concord Rangers – despite playing against ten men for all of the second half.
Hemel won three of Deeney’s first four games when he took over from caretaker manager Jordan Parkes in late October.
But they have now lost two of their last three league outings, including a defeat on Saturday where they had a man advantage for 47 minutes.
Tonight (Wednesday) Hemel will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Hitchin Town in the Herts Senior Cup.
They can then try to grasp a golden opportunity to get their league campaign back on track this Saturday when they host 17th-placed Dulwich Halmet at Vauxhall Road.
On Saturday, Concord’s Connor Essam was given his marching orders in the 43rd minute after a reckless, lunging tackle from behind on Tudors’ skipper Parkes earned him a straight red card.
Five minutes beforehand, the hosts Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead through Alex Wall when he tapped home from close-range after a defence-splitting pass from Samuel Blackman.
Hemel got right back in it a minute after the sending off through Tom Knowles. The resulting free-kick was cleared twice by the Concord defence but Hemel kept Rangers pinned in, before Scott Shulton struck a decent effort from outside the box which Concord keeper Samuel Beasant failed to gather, with Knowles the man on the spot to dink home.
However, despite the man advantage in the second period, Hemel failed to make a breakthrough.
Chances came and went, including Parkes having a good effort from distance just clearing the bar.
On 70 minutes a Concord punted goal kick up the field eventually fell to Liam Nash, who hit a powerful shot from outside the box into the bottom left-hand corner of the net past the outstretched fingers of Hemel keeper Laurie Walker.
Steve Cawley went close with a header and Kyle Connolly had a good shot from distance just drift wide as Concord held on for the win.
Despite the defeat, the Tudor are still only a point outside the playoff positions in 11th place.
Last Tuesday night, the Tudors advanced to the first round-proper of the FA Trophy when outlasting Lewes 3-2 at Vauxhall Road in a third-qualifying round replay. The Tudors’ goals came from Knowles, Cawley and Jack Snelus.
Deeney sat down with Tudors’ match-day reporter Allan Mitchell recently and said: “We have a very talented squad and with a couple of additions we should be able to compete at the top of this division, no doubt about that.
“We have a few injuries and we hope we don’t get any more in the next few weeks, but once we get some of these players back we can achieve anything the players want to achieve.
“I talk to players individually, I believe in this approach, treating them like adults and already two or three players have had a chat and now accept and understand what I want from them.
“I’ll always put an arm round anyone who needs some support if they have had a bad game or are lacking in confidence.”
The club’s vice-chairman Kerry Underwood said: “We had over 60 applicants [for the job] and we narrowed the list down to four who we interviewed and we [Kerry and chairman Dave Boggins] both agreed Joe was far and away the most impressive candidate.”
Deeney added: “I have always wanted to be in charge at a football club and it just felt like the time was right.
“After doing some homework on the club, the chairman and the overall set-up, I decided it would be the perfect move for me so I applied.
“Once I met with Dave and Kerry I knew that this was a great place to be, I was so impressed with them and luckily for me they bought into my ideas and beliefs and offered me the job.”