Wealdstone 2 – 2 Hemel Hempstead Town
2 - 2
A rip roaring Vanarama Conference South match resulted in honours even in front of a season’s best crowd of 904 at The Vale on Sunday.
Hemel will feel that they should have taken all of the points on offer with a commanding and totally dominant first half when they looked like completely over running a stretched home side. But Wealdstone twice pegged back the progressive visitors and a combination of defensive resilience and magnificent goal keeping from Jonathan North kept them in the game.
Hemel ran riot from kick off and raced into a 3 minute lead via Oliver Hawkins who netted from a corner. The visitors then over ran Stones for 30 minutes as North produced save after save keeping the Tudors at bay. Stones only real chance during this period was a strike from the lively Shaun Lucien who for once managed to break free but shot wide, although Richard Jolly was unlucky when he almost got through but couldn’t connect.
Hemel looked sharp and built attacking moves quickly but Stones grabbed an unlikely leveller from the persistence of the impressive Watford Loanee Luke O’Nien. He robbed the ball outside the area, Jolly unselfishly squared back to him and the midfielder scored his first goal for Stones on 36mins against the run of play. Jordan Parkes gain went close for Hemel but Stones had weathered the storm by Half Time.
The visitors repeated their first half performance in the opening minutes and regained the lead from a rare defensive error from the home side and Hawkins took his side back into the lead from a low shot that gave North no chance.
But credit to Stones they soon hit back and when Jolly was bundled over in the area the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. Sean Cronin blasted home the penalty to equalise on 56 minutes. Either side could have gone on to win the game with North continuing to keep his side in contention. Jolly should have found the net after finding space on two occasions but was off target as the tension mounted. But it was North that again claimed the main plaudits with a magnificent double save at the death.
Stones are back in FA Trophy action next Saturday (10 January) at The Vale. Kick Off 3pm
Wealdstone : North, Martin, Watts, Parker, Cronin, Godfrey, Lucien, Brown, McGleish, Jolly, O’Nien. Subs used: Louis, Turner, Hammond. Not used: Ball, Wright.
William Hill MoM: Jonathan North
Steve Foster pics HERE