Six Goal Thriller Ends All Square

Hampton & Richmond Borough and Wingate & Finchley shared six goals in an end to end match at Beveree Stadium, but both teams may feel they should have taken all three points.

IMG_3681This was the first league match at Beveree since the Boxing Day defeat to Carshalton Athletic, and is the first of three home games in seven days for Mark Harper’s team. Recent signings Ryan Moss and Tony Taggart made their home debuts, with James Simmonds reduced to a place on the bench. Before the game, there was an emotional minute’s applause for Mark Smith, Hampton’s former Bar Manager, who sadly passed away in January after losing a long battle with leukaemia.

While the match started out as an entertaining end to end encounter, there was little in the way of goalmouth action until the visitors took the lead on quarter of an hour. The Hampton failed to defend a long ball (it won’t be the first time you’ll read that in this report!) and the ball fell to Spencer Bellotti, making his debut for The Blues. He dispatched a lovely looping volley that was out of the reach of home goalkeeper Rodney Chiweshe. It was Bellotti’s third goal in five days against Hampton, having scored twice in the Middlesex Senior Cup in midweek. He signed for Wingate later in the week, and returned to haunt the Beavers, and it wouldn’t be his final contribution of the match.

The lineups

The lineups

Hampton were shell shocked by the goal, and took some time to find their feet. Charlie Moone had a half chance on twenty minutes, but scuffed his shot straight at Blues ‘keeper Bobby Smith. Despite their lowly league position, Wingate were playing with confidence, and should have doubled their advantage midway through the half. Bellotti was a constant menace, and he hit the underside of the bar, with the ball bouncing clear. The follow up was cleared off the line for a corner, from which Rodney Chiweshe produced a stunning save to claw a top corner-bound header out for a corner. They were made to rue those missed opportunities on twenty six minutes, though, as a lovely Hampton move brought about the equaliser. Good interchange between Moss and Joe Turner led to the latter getting into the box and squaring for Moss to net on his home league debut.

There was a sour note to the first half for the home side, though, as centre back Max Hustwick had to go off injured, to be replaced by Billy Jeffreys. There were no further goals before the break, HRBFC 1 W & F 1

Mark Harper must have delivered something of a rocket to his players at half time, as they went for their opponents right from the restart. Ryan Moss pulled the ball back for Turner, but his shot was blocked. Moments later, Moone curled a wonderful free kick towards the top corner, but Smith tipped it over. However, six minutes into the second half, Moone had his goal. A swift counter attack saw Moss clip a perfect ball through for Moone to run onto, and the on fire frontman raced clear to finish expertly past Smith. As he wheeled away to celebrate, he lifted his shirt to reveal a tribute to Mark Smith. You could tell it meant the world to Moone to stick the ball in the back of the net.

The teams pay tribute to Mark Smith

The teams pay tribute to Mark Smith

The lead didn’t last long though, and it was those old defensive frailties that gifted Wingate their equaliser. A long ball was sent forwards, and Chiweshe raced from his line to try and head the ball clear, despite the presence of defenders. His header didn’t go far, and it was returned with interest by Dan Brown. The former Ashford Town (Middlesex) striker lobbed the ball back into the unguarded net first time for his fifth goal since signing for the visitors.

Hampton should have regained the lead on the hour, in a succession of chances not completely unreminiscent of Wingate’s flurry in the first half. First, Darren Powell headed goalwards from a corner. This resulted in a scramble in the six yard box, with the ball eventually being cleared. Then, Ryan Moss got through but was denied by Smith, with the loose ball being cleared off the goal line, and then Tony Taggart fired wide from a Turner cross. All of this happened in about ninety seconds!

Wingate defender Ahmet Rifat is shown the first of his two yellows

Wingate defender Ahmet Rifat is shown the first of his two yellows

With fifteen minutes to go, Hampton took the lead they just about deserved on their second half performance. Good play between the impressive Moss and Taggart ended with the latter playing the ball to Moone out on the left. Moone then cut in from the left and floated a stunning curling shot into the top corner. It was an absolute stunner, worth the entry price alone, and put him on twenty one goals for the season, twelve of them in the league. Seven minutes later, however, and for the third time, a long ball proved Hampton’s undoing. This one was sliced over his own ‘keeper by Jeffreys, leaving Bellotti with an easy tap in for his second of the match, and fourth in five days against Borough, for two different clubs. He did smash his leg into the post under challenge from Darren Powell, but was able to see out the match. The last incident of the match saw Wingate centre back Ahmet Rifat sent off for his second yellow card, both received for fouls on the excellent Joe Turner.

The vast majority of the 269 crowd were left frustrated and angry with the poor defensive showing, and it’s not a great start to the run of three games in seven days at the Bev. Final Score: HRBFC 3 Wingate & Finchley 3

There were some causes for optimism though. The partnership upfront of Moone and Moss looks as though it will bear fruit, especially with Joe Turner and tony Taggart on the wings. The fact that our best player, James Simmonds, was reduced to a five minute cameo at the end of the game, shows that there is some depth to the squad at last. Tom Hickey was superb in midfield, again, and Malvin Kamara had a very good game from right back. If the team can cut out the stupid errors at the back, and Chiweshe can improve his decision making, there is still some hope of a playoff spot. That hope, though, seems to be fading with each passing match.

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About James Bartaby

Hey, I'm James and I'm relatively new to non-league football, having only taken in my first match in September 2011. Despite it being a 0-4 defeat for Hampton & Richmond Borough, I became a huge fan of the club and NL in general. So much so that they are now the first club that I mention when talking about which team I support! I just got massively disillusioned with top flight football in this country and the attitudes of the lawmakers and top clubs in general, and I wanted to start taking my son to see decent football. I am now the club's Deputy Press Officer, and loving every minute!

Posted on February 10, 2013, in UTL Archive and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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