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04 Mar 2020


Cheshunt were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Hertfordshire Senior Challenge Cup for a second consecutive season after succumbing to a 1-0 defeat to Hemel Hempstead Town.

The score line was certainly not a reflection of the balance of play as the Ambers took the game to their National League South opponents, but Sam Ashford’s early header was enough to send Hemel through to the final.

And despite the defeat, Cheshunt Manager Craig Edwards was delighted with his side’s showing as he said: “I thought every player that stepped on that pitch for us tonight was magnificent, I thought we completely outplayed them.

“I’ve been told by our statto that we had 30 shots, they’ve had four, but they’ve put the ball in the net once and we haven’t.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the same as last week, because we were the division above them (Berkhamsted), and you expected us to be a lot better, but I thought to play a National League South side and be so dominant in possession, play great football, create chances, defend well, everything was just so good and we deserve to be in the final.

“But unfortunately, that’s what football does, and you don’t always get what you deserve.” 

The Ambers started brightly and had a couple of half chances in the opening minutes, but it was the higher ranked visitors who opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour. James Dobson’s free-kick found a wide-open Sam Ashford who was able to head home over Harry Girling in the Cheshunt goal.

It could have been 2-0 but for some last gasp defending – by a Hemel player! James Dobson’s strike seemed destined for the back of the net, but Aaron Jarvis somehow found himself in the way and blocked his teammates’ effort.

Ryan Moss then failed to capitalise on a golden opportunity to equalise as he won the ball high up the pitch and found himself one-on-one with Tudors’ goalkeeper Danny Boness, but his shot could only find the side netting.

Cheshunt continued to be the more creative of the two sides and Reece Beckles-Richards was the next to come close, having a strike blocked before his follow-up effort was well saved low down by Boness.

The former West Ham scholar then had to be at his best once more to deny Beckles-Richards twice in the space of a minute in the opening knockings of the second-half.

Firstly, Beckles-Richards rolled his man before his strike was parried to safety by Boness, before moments later Zack Newton fizzed an excellent pass through to the on-loan forward who was denied once again.

Shortly before the hour mark Taylor Miles came closest to drawing the Ambers level, cutting across the edge of the box from the left before unleashing a terrific strike that crashed onto the inside of the post. The ball then dropped to Beckles-Richards who was denied again by the infallible Besson.

The final of the Ambers’ 30 attempts on goal came in the closing moments, as Ibrahima Diallo’s cross was headed out only as far as Jamie Reynolds whose first-time volley flew just wide.

But despite playing terrific football against their higher-ranked opponents, it wasn’t to be for the Ambers who missed out on a final for the second consecutive week. However, one boost heading into the business end of the league season was the return of diminutive forward Shane Cojocarel from a lengthy injury layoff off the bench.

Cheshunt FC: Girling, Diallo, Abrahams (Kassarate 61), Re, McKenzie, Cronin ©, Newton (Diedrick-Roberts 68), Miles (Cojocarel 77), Moss, Beckles-Richards, Reynolds. Unused subs: Camara, Nzala.
Hemel Hempstead Town: Boness, Kpohomouh, Popo, Howell, Essam ©, Sterling, Ashford, Evans, Jarvis (Moore 62), Sinclair (Galiford 62), Dobson (Midson 78). Unused subs: Dickenson, Beasant.

Attendance: 102
Referee: Mr M. Fletcher

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