A Huge Week For Hampton
With three home matches in seven days, the next week could well be pivotal if the Beavers are to make an immediate return to Conference South.
After last Saturday’s fine single goal win at Bury Town, courtesy of a spectacular Charlie Moone strike, Hampton & Richmond Borough now have three successive home matches in seven days (weather permitting). These games are against Wingate & Finchley, Canvey Island and Harrow Borough. Maximum points would leave Mark Harper’s men on 41 points, which is currently the total held by joint second placed Concord Rangers and tuesday’s opponents Canvey Island. Needless to say, this is a huge seven days coming up!
Wingate & Finchley
While all three games will be tough, and probably nervous affairs, at least two are winnable, at least on paper. The two Saturday matches are against teams that are struggling against the drop, and have lost seven away games each. The first match, against Wingate & Finchley tomorrow (Saturday February 9th) is the reverse fixture of one which Hampton won easily, 3-0, on December 15th. That was also the last league victory before the trip to Suffolk last weekend. The goals that day came from JJ Bates (now back at Harrow Borough after his release from Hampton), Tom Hickey and Joe Turner. This time out, top scorer Charlie Moone will be hoping to add to the ten league goals he already has, while new signing Ryan Moss will be hoping to notch his first league goal for the Beavers since signing on January 3rd. He has scored twice in a Middlesex Senior Cup match.
Wingate & Finchley, meanwhile, have won their last two away matches in the league, at Wealdstone and Harrow Borough, and have won four of their last six matches in all competitions, so they will come into the match with some degree of confidence. They also have two strikers in good form, Anthony Thomas and Dan Brown. Thomas joined from divisional rivals Lewes last month, while Brown moved from Southern League Division One Central side Ashford Town (Middlesex) before Christmas. Both strikers have netted four times since joining.
The Blues have won four and lost seven of their eleven away games so far this season, scoring fourteen goals and conceding twenty three. A quirky little stat emerges when looking at their results. They have taken half their points on the road, whilst also scoring and conceding half their goals too!
The visitors will go into this match hoping to extend their recent good away form, and I’m sure they will be well aware of Borough’s poor home form of late. Hampton have not won at home in the league since beating Whitehawk way back on October 15th, and have lost the last four in front of their own fans. They have also not won any home league match by more than a one goal margin. Granted, there have been several postponements (last home league match was on Boxing Day!) but they really do need to address this poor form. I think they will do here, and win comfortably, I’m going for a 3-1 win for Borough.
This could be the trickiest of the three fixtures. The first match finished goalless, but I doubt this one will. With both clubs boasting a striker in double figures, and with the visitors lying in third place in the table, this could be a cracker. The Gulls will be coming off the back of five straight home matches (they have played four at time of writing, winning three and losing one), and their last away match resulted in a 2-1 success at Hendon. They did famously throw away a 4-1 lead at Whitehawk recently, eventually losing 5-4 by conceding four goals in the last thirteen minutes of that match. That seems to be a theme for them this season. Looking through their fixtures, they tend to concede goals in relatively quick succession. In a recent 3-0 loss to island rivals Concord Rangers, they conceded twice in the opening twenty minutes, while against Braintree, whilst they won 6-2, they went two down after twelve minutes, and in a 3-4 home defeat to Enfield Town, they shipped three goals in a little over twenty first half minutes. That would suggest that they suffer a mental slump if they concede, and can be got at
The game, then promises goals, and if Hampton can get their noses in front, their opponents could be there for the taking. A win here would be crucial, as Borough are nine points behind Canvey Island, but with three games in hand, this could be the most important game of the three. As I say, I think there’ll be goals, and I’ll go for a 2-2 draw.
Dave Anderson’s side will arrive at the Beveree with a very poor away record, having only won two of their twelve games on the road. They haven’t picked up maximum points away from Earlsmead since October, and have only won two of their last eighteen matches in all competitions. Theoretically, this should be the easiest match of the three this week, but how often does it go according to plan! It is hard to argue the case for an away win, though, and even ten goal striker Simeon Akinola’s return to the side shouldn’t be enough to stop the home side taking maximum points. I will go for a big 4-1 home win (it’s tough to type with fingers crossed!).
Ok, yes I’ve done the predictions from a completely biased viewpoint, but I do believe that the team can get through the week and pick up some vital points. You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about an ultimatum set out in a club statement, which basically gave Mark Harper three league matches to save his job. Those three matches have now passed (although it took a month to play them!) and Harper delivered five points from three tough away games, which have probably safeguarded his job, at least for now. However, if this next week doesn’t yield some good points, the board could be forced to reconsider.
As the title says, it’s a huge week for Hampton & Richmond Borough FC. I would even go as far as to say it could be season defining. Get between six and nine points and the playoffs are back in the reckoning. Any less than that, and it could be a mid table finish, or even leave the club looking for a new gaffer.
Posted on February 8, 2013, in UTL Archive and tagged Canvey Island FC, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Harrow Borough, Isthmian Premier, Ryman Premier, Wingate & Finchley. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.