St Albans fail to take advantage of numerical superiority against Hemel Hempstead
- Credit: Archant
A bold performance by St Albans was ultimately without reward as they lost a highly competive game 20-6 at home to high-flying Hemel Hempstead.
Not even a sending off for a reckless challenge by the visitors could help Saints as they were undone by two late tries.
From the kick-off St Albans pack, with captain Brent Lemiere and flanker Jeremy Walmsley to the fore, took the game to second-placed Hemel.
The pressure told and following a series of powerful thrusts Nick Woolley knocked over a penalty.
The fly-half was given a second opportunity shortly after and again he took full advantage, putting St Albans 6-0 to the good.
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A bad tackle followed by persistent illegal play at the breakdown reduced Hemel to 13 but somehow they kept Saints out before advancing up the pitch and adding three points of their own.
The second half saw Hemel exert pressure on the St Albans defensive line which eventually conceded another penalty that levelled the scores at six.
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From then on the match see-sawed between both teams.
The red card seemed to give Albans a huge opportunity for a big win. Instead it seemed to serve as motivation for Hemel.
With less then 15 minutes an errant clearing kick which was well-fielded and returned with interest for a converted score.
Saints threw caution to the win but after a series of drives were repelled, Hemel hacked the ball forward at a crucial ruck and ran in the final score.
St Albans are now third from the bottom of London North West Three and face a huge battle to open 2017, when they travel to Finchley, the side one place below them, on January 7.