National League South Sat 23 December Vauxhall Road
Hemel Hempstead
  • Williams (45')
  • Whittaker (51')

The Rebels made their final away trip of 2023 and were looking to build on an emphatic 5-1 win against high-flying Maidstone United as they paid a visit to Hemel Hempstead who had lost each of their last five matches.

Adam Hinshelwood was forced into one change from the side that successfully brushed aside the Stones last time out, with Kane Wills out of action after picking up a calf injury. Joan Luque was his replacement, with Hinshelwood shuffling the pack to move Nick Wheeler to left back.

It was a closely contested first half in Hertfordshire with both sides creating opportunities to open the scoring. Hemel has the first of those opportunities following a corner floated in by George Williams that found the head of Kyle Ajayi but the tall centre-back couldn’t keep his header down.

Worthing’s first big chance came some 20 minutes in when they broke away through Joan Luque from a Hemel corner. After playing a one-two with Ollie Pearce on the halfway line, Luque went at it alone but curled his shot wide of the far post after cutting in, onto his right foot. Up the other end, Joe Re headed narrowly wide for the hosts from Montel McKenzie’s cross.

Pearce had a golden chance to add a sixteenth goal to his tally in the National League South after Joel Colbran played him in, over the top. Pearce took it down before getting his shot away but couldn’t get the direction on it to steer past Craig King, who comfortably saved.

Soon after, Joe Felix missed a massive chance to open the scoring. He latched onto Ajayi’s poor backpass and looked for all the world that he would find the back of the net, but his shot was a tame one that rolled under the leg of King but was cleared off the line by McKenzie.

On 42 minutes, the hosts threatened through Tre Mitford who was on the end of Re’s cross. Unmarked at the back post, Mitford probably had time to take a touch but went at it first time and shot wide.

Into added time, the hosts took the advantage. Worthing were the makers of their own downfall as they gifted possession to George Williams who drove at goal before finishing cooly past Roco Rees into the bottom left corner to give the Tudors the lead into the break.

Early into the second half, Danny Cashman had a huge chance to get Worthing back on level terms. Felix’s cross went over the head of Tudor’s keeper King, finding Cashman who couldn’t quite get over it and he headed over.

The Tudors made the Rebels pay once more for their missed chances when on 51 minutes, Tarrelle Whittaker made it two. McKenzie drove forward before finding Whittaker in space on the edge of the box where the forward found the bottom right corner with ease.

Wheeler tested King in the Hemel net soon after, but the keeper made a strong save from the curling left-footed effort as he parried wide.

In a bid to get back into the contest, Hinshelwood made a double change on 57 minutes. Michael Klass and Jake Robinson came on in place of Joan Luque and Odei Martin Sorondo.

But, it was the hosts who remained in the ascendancy. In the next ten minutes, chances followed for Re, Tyrelle Newton and Whittaker but nothing to add to the two-goal advantage.

With five minutes remaining, the Rebels’ final change was made as Bailey Smith replaced Cashman.

A disappointing performance and result for the Rebels whose inconsistent run continues.

They’ll be looking to put it right on Boxing Day as they welcome Sussex rivals Eastbourne Borough to the Sussex Transport Community Stadium.