The Moone Is Not Enough
Hampton & Richmond Borough FC Press Officer Rob Overfield provides us with the match report from Beavers’ third trip to Suffolk in a month.
Charlie Moone’s 11th goal of the season was not sufficient to force a result against a dangerous Leiston side which clearly fancied their chances of reaching the 1st round proper of the FA Trophy.
Necessity meant that the Beavers had to line up with a three-man defensive line in a 3-5-2 formation that changed to 5-3-2 depending on where the ball was and where Joel Ledgister (playing wide on the right) and Mo Harkin were standing.
The Beavers made a bright opening, with Joel Ledgister opening up the Blues defense with a fizzing cross that Mo Bettemer was within inches of converting with just 3 minutes played. Leiston came back with a couple of attempts of their own before Bettemer managed to get his head to a Jenkins cross, the attempt drifted just wide.
On 16 minutes, the Beavers grabbed the lead; Ledgister made a strong run down the right, his cross was flicked on by Charlie Moone as he made a run across the box, the header looped over the keeper and fell into the corner of the net.
Once again it was domination Hampton for the rest of the half; the unfamiliar formation was working well across the midfield, with Ledgister and Harkin providing some threatening width. On 35 minutes, Joe Turner’s shot was tipped wide by Leiston keeper Potter, and with the half almost over, a flicked header from Bettemer forced Potter into a save as the Beavers looked like they could double the lead before the interval.
HT Leiston 0 HRBFC 1
The home side were invigorated by their break and immediately had the Beavers on the back foot. After surviving a scare in the opening minutes of the second period, Leiston grabbed an equaliser which the defence will be disappointed with. A free kick was taken quickly, the shot ricocheted to the right, a swift cross came back in which found its way under Max Hustwick’s outstretched foot and fell to Gareth Heath, who buried the ball past Rodney Chiweshe with some panache.
Joel Ledgister was having a good performance in an unfamiliar role and was looking to beat his man at every opportunity; his run on 57 minutes saw him get past two defenders to force a corner, which resulted in Mo Bettemer hooking an overhead kick wide.
By now, the Beavers had weathered the Leiston pressure, which had seen them spend long periods in their own half and on 73 minutes, they thought they’d won the game. A Jenkins free kick from the right was met at the back post by Charlie Moone, whose simple header beat Potter. However, the team were non-plussed to see the assistant rule the goal out for offside, which seemed odd as Moone had made a late run and appeared to be well onside as the kick was taken.
Leiston’s main threat was proved to be the tricky diminutive striker Manny Osei, and his attempt from distance on 77 minutes had Rodney Chiweshe back-pedalling furiously, as the ball flew over him to bounce off the bar.
Less than 10 minutes remained when the Beavers hit the woodwork themselves. Charlie Moone gathered Gary Holloway’s pass, his shot on the turn beat Potter but hit the post.
Either side were looking like they could take it with 5 minutes to go. Joel Ledgister once again made a run to the goal-line, and his cross came back out to Mo Harkin, whose shot was deflected wide. Leiston forced Rodney Chiweshe to make a full length save with just a couple of minutes left, and on another day could have had a stoppage time penalty as a Leiston player appeared to be bundled over in the box, leaving the Blues management incensed with referee Stuart Powley.
At the end, a draw probably a fair result, and now the teams must do it all again at Beveree on Tuesday night, kick off 7-45 pm. It was credit to the whole team, that in tricky conditions – steady rain – against confident opponents and with an unfamiliar formation, that they could have won this FA Trophy tie.
Chiweshe, Kamara, Jenkins, Hickey, Hustwick, Turner, Ledgister, Holloway, Moone, Bettemer (Bates 72), Harkin. Subs not used: Cousins, Paul.