Remembrance weekend produced a result to forget as Chris Todd’s City slipped to a fifth successive defeat away to Hemel Hempstead in the National League South as the Tiger’s lost 2-1 at a rain soaked Vauxhall Road.
Heavy rain soaked the pitch half an hour before kick off and didn’t let up in the second half as City managed to pull a goal back with a late Joe Hanks free kick.
Fielding a squad blighted by injuries, Chris Todd’s men were behind after 13 minutes when Hemel Hempstead debutant Rob Sinclair took advantage of a defensive uncertainty and running at goal slotted the ball to Przybek’s right and into the back of the net.
City threatened the Hemel goal with Parker and Williams forcing Walker into two very good saves from close range.
City’s afternoon was then compounded by the loss of Parker to injury after a heavy tackle. With the dynamic winger off and replaced by Jake Mawford, City thought they had an equaliser which was ruled offside by referee Richard Gardner.
As the first half came to a close Hemel had the better of the game but there were positives for City to build on, most of which could be attributed to the debuting Odin Bailey. Anything City did creatively came from the Birmingham City youngster and his link up play with Noah Smerdon giving onlookers glimpses of what Chris Todd is trying to accomplish.
As the Second half kicked off and the rain began to pour , Hemel started very much in control buoyed by the one goal cushion however, City grew into the half and started to test the Hemel defence with Harry Warwick’s two efforts on goal in as many minutes.
City kept the pressure and had plenty of the ball in the midfield but a Hemel interception saw the ball end up on the left wing and the subsequent cross was nodded down to Przybek’s left by Hemel number 9 Steve Cawley to double Hemel’s lead on 58 Minutes.
City didn’t let their heads drop but the second goal having a visible effect as Hemel’s confidence grew throughout the rest of the half. Both teams were finding the weather difficult and as the pitch got wetter, passes from both sides became scrappier.
However, City started to get a foothold in the last 15 minutes and as City pressed around the Hemel box, a chance fell to Odin Bailey who shot from just outside the area and could only watch as it sailed over. Bailey, suffering with cramp, made way for Gloucester City Youth player James Unwin on 86 minutes with the 16 year old not looking at all out of place at National League South level.
City maintained the pressure with Hemel occasionally breaking with no effect and in added time, City’s persistence was rewarded. With Hemel conceding a foul 35 yards out, Joe Hanks, teed up the ball and fired a shot just to Walker’s right who despite getting hands to it, spilled it into his own net.
This proved too little too late for City as the ref blew for full time moments after the restart. The game summed up City’s fortunes of late; lots of effort and endeavour in the first two thirds of the pitch but a lack of luck and cutting edge in the final third. Despite the result, there were positives as assured displays from Noah Smerdon, James Unwin and Odin Bailey gave Manager Chris Todd food for thought and with City hosting Woking at the Jubilee on Wednesday night, the Tigers have another quick opportunity to turn things around.
Gloucester City play Woking at the Jubilee Stadium, Evesham on Wednesday 14th November, Kick Off 19:45.