Hampton & Richmond Borough suffered their second successive league defeat last Saturday, a result which sees them drop out of the top five for the first time this season.
After the performance against Conference South high flyers Chelmsford City in the FA Trophy seven days earlier, hopes were high that Borough would get back on track in the Ryman Premier League, a competition in which they have not won since the start of November. Unsurprisingly after that match, manager Mark Harper named an unchanged lineup for the visit of fellow promotion hopefuls Margate FC, with Anson Cousins keeping his place at right back, with regular incumbent Malvin Kamara on the bench.
The home side started out brightly, and created one of the best chances of the game in only the second minute. James Simmonds played a super through ball to Charlie Moone who raced clear of the Margate defence, only to shoot straight at keeper Craig Holloway. It was a poor finish from a striker in such hot form. Joel Ledgister then did well to beat two defenders, but his cross-cum-shot hit the side netting.
There was plenty of good attacking play from both teams, and on thirteen minutes the deadlock was broken by the visitors. Dan Stubbs picked up on a poor clearance and shot into a relatively unguarded net, with Rodney Chiweshe caught out of position in the Hampton goal. This prompted a decent spell of possession for the visitors, but they created little with it, and midway through the first half Hampton equalised. Mo Harkin crossed from the left, where Charlie Moone headed against the post. Following in was Gary Holloway and he slid the rebound home to level proceedings. Not long after, Ledgister almost got lucky when his floated cross dropped onto the roof of the net.
The half then went flat for ten or twelve minute spell, but there were a couple more efforts on goal in the last five minutes before the break. Stubbs, looking for his second, had a shot that was deflected and looped into Chiweshe’s hands, while at the other end Harkin, Ledgister and Moone all had shots. Ledgister’s was the best of the lot, a fierce left foot drive from twenty five yards that stung the palms of Craig Holloway. Half time HRBFC 1 Margate 1
While it was the Beavers who started the first half strongly, it was Margate who scored at the start of the second period. Tommy Whitnell caught Darren Powell dwelling in possession, and slipped the ball in to Matt Bodkin who finished expertly to restore the visitors’ lead. Richard Avery could have made it 3-1 nine eight minutes later, but while his header from a corner had plenty of power, it was straight at Chiweshe.
Just after the hour, and Hampton finally created some chances. Joel Ledgister had a decent curler saved, while Harkin’s follow up was blocked. Ledgister then had another effort blocked for a corner. They were the last real chances of the match, and in the end Margate took the points and climb to second only on goal difference (they did go top in midweek after a goalless draw at East Thurrock United). Hampton dropped to sixth, their lowest position of the campaign, but still well in touch with the leaders.
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