Goddard hits brace as Rebels win final away game

Hemel Hempstead Town

Hemel Hempstead Town

Williams (19), Iaciofano (72)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Goddard (15, 85), Cook-Appiah (70)
League Attendance: 914
Johnny Goddard’s brace was the difference in a five-goal thriller at Hemel Hempstead, writes Freddie Gatrell.

A slow start to the game was ended on the 15-minute mark in the most spectacular fashion, with a world class finish from Goddard adding to a list of excellent strikes over the course of the season.

A pass into his feet from Nathan Minhas allowed the Slough number 10 the time and space to rifle a swerving effort high into the top right-hand corner, far from the reach of Jonathan Macaulay in the Tudors goal.

No sooner had Goddard produced yet another goal of the season contender, the hosts were level, with an opportunistic lobbed through ball being seized upon by George Williams, who rounded Hugo Sobte to leave a simple finish into an open net.

After a period of cagey and tense football, the Rebels began to assert their dominance yet again, with Josh Jackman’s headed effort clattering off the post 36 minutes in, with the follow up from David Ogbonna well blocked by Macaulay.

Moments later, Scott Davies almost unlocked the Hemel defence with a wonderful 60-yard through ball that found the right boot of Trae Cook-Appiah, but his volleyed effort hit the woodwork, the last meaningful chance of the first half.

The second half started well for the hosts, with an early spell of play coming close to giving the Hertfordshire side a goal. Junior Gyami found himself clean through just after the hour mark with Sobte’s goal at his mercy, but defensive excellence from both the Rebels shot stopper and Jeanmal Prosper prevented the hosts from scoring.

The returning Slavi Spasov took no time in influencing proceedings, with his attacking drive proving key in creating a second Rebels goal. Rolling his man from a central position, the Bulgarian forward laid a ball into the feet of Cook-Appiah, who took a touch and smashed it high into the top corner to make it 3 goals in 2 games in the 69th minute.

But the Tudors did not have long to wait to celebrate their equaliser, with Joe Iaciofano nodding home their second equaliser of the afternoon only three minutes later directly from a corner.

Refusing to leave Vauxhall Road with only a point, the persistent Rebels continued to push for a winner and were duly rewarded with a late winner in the 85th minute. Spasov continued to cause problems for the Tudors and found himself in behind the hosts’ defence, with a powerful low drive being poorly handled by Macaulay. The loose ball was swiftly seized upon by the electric Goddard who tapped home from a few yards out to bring all three points back to Arbour Park.

Despite a strong performance, the pursuit for the final playoff spot is now just out of reach for Scott Davies’ men, who will still be rightfully proud of a successful campaign. With one match remaining, a final test against Welling United awaits the Rebels, in a celebration at Arbour Park next Saturday.

Hemel Hempstead Town Lineup

Jonathan Macaulay, Josh Williams, Kyle Ajayi, Josh Hill, George Williams (Joe Iaciofano 46), Joe Re, Junior Gyamfi, Chris Smith, Ike Orji, Michael Folivi (Kaylen Hinds 46), Anton Dworzak (Alfie Matthews 71). Unused substitutes: Tarrelle Whittaker, Sam Carman.


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