MATCH REPORT: Bury Town 0 Hemel Hempstead Town 3
Bury Town were unable to cause a cup upset at Ram Meadow as Hemel Hempstead Town put in a slick performance to comfortably seal their progress into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Dennis Oli’s fifth minute goal put the Vanarama National League South firmly in the driving seat before strike partner Oliver Hawkins made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 31st minute.
Were it not for Bury goalkeeper Neil O’Sullivan’s heroics it would have been a bigger score going into the break.
Despite the hosts getting a lifeline back into the tie with their own penalty, which was smashed against the post by Bradley Barber just before the hour mark, it was the Tudors’ Matt Harriott who scored next, with his 71st minute strike proving to be the final goal of the game.
With Remi Garrett out injured, Bury Town manager Ben Chenery put 18-year-old Braintree Town attacking midfielder Joe Maybanks in for his first start just a day after agreeing a one-month loan spell.
The former West Ham United youth player started on the left of the three in Bury’s preferred 4-2-3-1 set-up against a depleted Hemel Hempstead side who lined up 4-4-2 missing five players, three to a wedding, one suspension and one injury.
But that did not affect their start to the game as they got straight onto the front foot and raced into an early lead.
A slip by Congolese defender Milton Elenge, only playing his second game for the club since resigning as a free agent proved costly, as Oli ran on to Hawkins’ flick-on through the middle and slid the ball under Neil O’Sullivan from the edge of the area.
The home goalkeeper, who recently ousted Nick Punter from the starting line-up, made a good block to deny Oli a second and parried out an effort from Michael Richens, while Hawkins headed over twice in a minute as the visitors dominated the opening exchanges.
O’Sullivan continued to be in the thick of the action flew out off his line to save at the feet of Jamal Lowe, who had broke though down the left as the Tudors continued to get in down the flanks all too easily.
Referee Ashvin Degnarain allowed play to go on after Oli screamed for a penalty after tangling with Elenge, but it was not long before the Bury centre-back gave the official little option but to award a spot kick.
Shortly after Hawkins had been denied by the legs of O’Sullivan, Elenge took away Lowe’s legs when there appeared little danger on the left edge of the area and was lucky to get away without a booking.
It was Hawkins who confidently stroked in the resultant penalty just after the half-an-hour mark, sending O’Sullivan the wrong way as he put it down the right-hand side.
It looked like it could be 3-0 when Oli slalomed through three Bury defenders but then took just too heavy a touch and O’Sullivan beat him to the ball.
A rare Blues attack saw Maybanks’ low cross played off to Bradley Barber by Sam Reed but the mdifelder’s shot was deflected wide with Jamie Butler punching away his resultant corner kick.
Hemel skipper James Potton put just past the far post as the Bury defence was opened up again with the hosts fortunate to only be trailing 2-0 at the break, and grateful to O’Sullivan.
Elenge did not re-emerge for the second half as Noel Aitkens came on, with veteran Justin Miller dropping back into the heart of the defence.
Bury started the second half promisingly with a nice move seeing Tevan Allen’s hanging right-wing cross headed over at the far post by Ollie Hughes before Reed found the arms of Jamie Butler from Maybanks’ pass.
Bury’s new signing then had a good sight of goal following a Miller long throw, but scooped it up weakly for Butler to comfortably claim.
A few minutes later Reed played a good ball into Hughes in the Hemel box but the striker’s first touch was too heavy with a first-time shot having looked the best option.
Just before the hour mark the Blues were gifted a way back into the tie when Hughes ran into the Tudors’ box and as he was taking it around Butler down the left-hand edge of the goal, the goalkeeper clipped his foot and sent him tumbling.
The goalkeeper got away with a yelllow card and was then grateful to see Barber’s well struck spot-kick cannon back off his right-hand post with him well beaten.
It brought an end to the hosts’ storming start to the second half as Hemel regained the upper hand.
Only a superb double save by O’Sullivan from Potton, as he gave the Bury defenders the slip in the area, prevented them from going 3-0 ahead.
Richens twice went close before the next goal arrived, again through a Bury error.
Home captain Phil Weavers stepped up too far on the halfway line as Oli picked up a throughball beyond him and ran to the edge of the area before playing it across to Harriott. The number four steadied himself, forcing O’Sullivan to dive prematurely, before applying the finish.
With the tie effectively beyond Bury, the game began to drift with substitutes introduced, but Harriott went close to his second in the 78th minute, curling just over O’Sullivan’s crossbar from the edge of the area.
Hughes had not given up the chase though and skipped past two players before finding a third too much on the edge of the Tudors’ penalty box.
But there was to be no home goal as Bury’s FA Cup campaign ran its course, deservedly succumbed to a slick Hemel Hempstead display.
Bury: O’Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Miller, Elegne, Weavers ©, Maybanks, Steed, Hughes, Barber, Reed. Subs: Collins, De’ath, Lampshire, Aitkens, Nurse, Punter (gk).
Hemel: Butler, Smith, Herd, Harriott, Forbes, Hill, Potton ©, Richens, Hawkins, Oli, Lowe. Subs: Shariff, Gnahore, Sampayo, Balogun, Findlay-Bada, Fitzgerald, Leon.