Hampton & Richmond Borough avoided the cliched “banana skin” to cruise into the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup at the expense of AFC Kempston Rovers, and achieved a new club record along the way.
On a red hot day in Bedfordshire, Borough made short work of their lower league opponents, dominating proceedings from start to finish, and scoring three goals in the process, although it probably should have been more emphatic.
The biggest surprise in the team selection from manager Mark Harper was the fact that despite a change at centre back, Dean Inman was left on the bench, Billy Jeffreys coming in to replace Darren Powell. Hampton were quick out the blocks, Charlie Moone firing a left foot shot straight at the Rovers keeper, while Turner narrowly failed to connect to a cross from JJ Bates. Jeffreys had a shot blocked after the keeper flapped at a Simmonds corner, before Moone had another effort tipped over the bar.
James Simmonds took the resulting corner, JJ Bates touched it on at the near post and Alan Bray stooped to head home after thirteen minutes. It was no more than The Beavers deserved for their bright start.
Hampton continued to be on top of their opponents, Simmonds cutting inside and shooting at the keeper, and Joe Turner firing a dipping volley over from twenty five yards. It wasn’t long before they doubled their lead though. Malvin Kamara surged down the right wing before slipping the ball to Bates. He in turn flicked it to Charlie Moone, and the striker turned onto his left foot and hit a sweet left foot strike into the top corner from twenty two yards. It was a fine strike, one typical of a striker enjoying a great start to the season (it’s his fourth of the campaign so far).
The chances continued to come for Harper’s men; Turner headed wide from a Simmonds cross, midfielder Gary Holloway lobbed the ball tamely into the keeper’s hands after he had narrowly beaten JJ Bates to a through ball. Moone almost got his second, Bates breaking clear and finding him with a neat pass. Moone then saw his shot deflected on to the post in the last minute of the half. The home side did have a couple of efforts, most notably from their number nine, who forced Rodney Chiweshe into a save. The Isthmian Premier leaders went in at half time 2-0 up.
The second half followed largely the same pattern, with the United Counties League side struggling to cope with their superior opponents. Bray headed over from another Simmonds corner (they caused problems all afternoon), before Turner and Moone were denied by a good double save.
Chiweshe had to make a couple of saves to keep his clean sheet record intact, while at the other end Alan Bray hit a free kick which the keeper fumbled but eventually gathered. Harper made his first changes of the match on 65 minutes, bringing on Joe Benjamin and Elliott Bent for Bates and Moone, a substitution that shows the strength in the squad this season. The new guys immediately started causing a problem for the home defence, showing power and pace that they couldn’t cope with. Joe Turner hit a good left footed shot that the keeper saved, albeit shakily, before the visitors finally put the tie to bed with the third goal they so richly deserved.
Seventeen minutes from time, Turner played a super through ball for Benjamin, who beat the offside trap before rounding the keeper and hammering home. There was still time for Turner to set up another chance, this time for Bent but he fired straight at the keeper. The game ended 3-0 to Borough, and with it a new club best seven clean sheets in a row, breaking a 45 year old record.
HRBFC: Chiweshe, Kamara, Bray, Hickey, Jeffreys, Hustwick, Turner, Holloway, Moone(Benjamin 65), Simmonds(Carder 80), Bates(Bent 65).
Star Man: There were so many good performances on the day, but Joe Turner takes it for me. He was superb for the entire match, creating multiple scoring chances, whilst also having a couple of efforts himself. He is starting to make a real impression on the team this season.