Thursday, 7 March 2019

Vauxhall Road - Hemel Hempstead Town

Hemel Hempstead Town - Vauxhall Road

Image result for hemel hempstead fc badge

Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club
Vauxhall Road
Hemel Hempstead


Hemel Hempstead Town were formed in 1885, but then were known as Apsley End FC. They joined the West Herts League in 1891 and were renamed Apsley Football Club two years later. The club were league champions in 1894–95 and 1897–98,  and in 1898 they were founder members of the Hertfordshire Senior County League. They went on to win the league in its second season, 1899–1900. The league was split into two divisions in 1901, with Apsley placed in the Western Division. They were divisional champions in 1902–03 and won the championship play-off against Northern Division champions St Albans Amateurs. The club had continued playing in the West Herts League and won the title for a third time in 1904–05. After winning the Western Division of the Hertfordshire Senior County League again in 1906–07, they defeated Northern Division Champions Hitchin Union Jack 5–3 in the championship play-off. In 1922 Apsley left the Hertfordshire Senior County League to join Division Two of the Spartan League. They were Division Two runners-up in 1923–24, after which league reorganisation saw them placed in Division Two A. They were Division Two A runners-up in 1926–27, but were demoted to Division Two West following further league reorganisation in 1928. More reorganisation in 1930 saw the club moved into Division One for the 1930–31 season. The club were Division One runners-up in 1931–32, earning promotion to the Premier Division. Although they were relegated back to Division One at the end of their first season in the Premier Division, the club were Division One champions and League Cup winners in 1933–34, earning an immediate return to the Premier Division. In 1955 the club was renamed Hemel Hempstead Town. They were Delphian League runners-up in 1961–62, and when the league was dissolved in 1963, they following most other Delphian League clubs into the new Division Two of the Athenian League. They were promoted to Division One at the end of the 1964–65 seasons, and were Division One runners-up the following season, earning promotion to the Premier Division. However, after finishing bottom of the Premier Division in 1967–68, the club were relegated back to Division One. A second successive relegation followed in 1968–69 when they finished second-from-bottom of Division One. In 1971 the club merged with Hemel Hempstead United from the South Midlands League to form Hemel Hempstead Football Club. The new club took Hemel Hempstead Town's place in Division Two of the Athenian League, but moved to Hemel Hempstead United's Vauxhall Road ground. In 1999 the club was renamed Hemel Hempstead Town for a second time. They won Division Two in 2001–02 but were denied promotion due to their ground failing to meet the necessary criteria. They were moved to Division One North in 2002, and a sixth-place finish in 2003–04 was enough to secure promotion as the creation of the Conference North and South led to many clubs moving up the leagues. At the same time the club were transferred to the Southern League and placed in its Premier Division. The following season saw the club finish in the relegation zone, resulting in relegation to Division One West. However, a fourth-place finish in 2005–06 meant the club qualified for the promotion play-offs; after beating Swindon Supermarine 3–0 in the semi-finals, they won the final against Brackley Town 3–2 to earn an immediate return to the Premier Division. The club finished fourth in 2012–13; in the play-offs they won 2–0 against Chesham United in the semi-finals, before losing 5–4 on penalties to Gosport Borough in the final. The following season saw the club win the Southern League Premier Division title, earning promotion to the Conference South. In 2014–15 they reached the first round of the FA Cup, eventually losing 3–1 at Bury.  A fifth-place finish in 2017–18 saw the club qualify for the play-offs. However, they were beaten 3–2 in a penalty shoot-out by Braintree Town in the qualifying round.


Hemel Hempstead Town 1-2 Dartford
Tuesday 5th March 2019
Vanarama Conference South

Tonight would be my usual Tuesday night off from work. I hadn't had much planned, only really this game would be the main one and perhaps some back-up games in order but then even then I didn't have many games I looked at anyway. 2 reasons on visiting Hemel Hempstead was 1, of course it's a new ground and another one done in the Conference South, and the other being Hemel were playing Dartford, who of course my good mate Phil supports who came with me to Three Bridges vs Sevenoaks Town not so long ago. On the day of the game, I left home shortly after half 4 and arrived into London Bridge around 5.20. I met Phil at London Bridge, we then got the train towards St Pancras, then walked to Euston. We arrived into Hemel Hempstead around 6.40 and braved the walk to the ground, although luckily it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, as in the end it would only take us 35 minutes to get there, which of course saw us arrive to the ground at 7.20pm. I did my usual lap of honour of walking round the ground taking photos, grabbed a bite to eat at the ground and before we knew it, it was kick off.

The 1st half wasn't really too much to report, both sides going into the break even stevens at 0-0. 2nd half, I felt Dartford had the more chances and they finally broke the deadlock on 80 minutes, Phil Roberts heading home from a free kick putting the visitors in front. Hemel equalised on 88 minutes through a penalty which was scored by Jordan Parkes and looked like to be heading the draw, but Dartford thought otherwise. A superb volley from Phil Roberts again getting the winner on 90 minutes. A great win for Dartford, and of course sent my good mate Phil going home very happy indeed. After the game, we waited around 10 minutes for a taxi which we got at the ground as luckily there is a taxi firm at the ground, and got back to the station just before 10pm. After leaving just before half past 10, we got back to London at 10.50, and I arrived home shortly after midnight. Tonight would be my 153rd Ground.


Hemel Hempstead Town have been playing at Vauxhall Road since 1972 after the club merged with Hemel Hempstead United. The club previously played at grounds Salmon Meadow, Gee's Meadow and Crabtree Lane. Crabtree Lane was sold for housing in 1972 with the club moving to Vauxhall Road. The ground holds 3,152 with around 534 seats. Although according to Google Maps, Apsley is the nearest station to the ground by foot, the easiest station to get to is Hemel Hempstead. It takes around 50 minutes walk wise but I braved the walk and only took around 35 minutes. At Hemel Hempstead station, there is a taxi rank and also at the ground there is a taxi firm, should cost no more than £10 return.


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