Late Show Sees Beavers Take The Points
I finally managed to get to my first match of 2015, and was rewarded with a dramtic end as Hampton & Richmond Borough edged out Harrow Borough in the Ryman Premier League.
Due to work, family and weather, I had not managed to get to a football match for a month or so, and not to Hampton’s Beveree Stadium since November 22nd. Ironically, that was the last time Alan Dowson’s Beavers won, beating then leaders Margate 2-0 in a superb performance. Turns out I may be something of a lucky charm for a change! And it does make a change; I went through quite a spell the season before last of not seeing the team score for about two months!
The club has certainly gone through a lot of change since I last wrote about them on here. Former Kingstonian boss Alan ‘Dowse’ Dowson has taken over following the departures of Paul Barry and Darren Powell, and there has been a huge turnover in the playing staff too. The side is now unrecognisable with the likes of Billy Jeffreys, Tommy Brewer and Justyn Roberts among others departing, and virtually a new back four and goalkeeper, along with a multitude of new midfielders. In attack, Charlie Moone continues to lead the line, but has had a number of strike partners over the past few weeks.
Saturday was no exception, with former Tilbury and Cray Wanderers striker Ben Hunt brought in to attack. He was a late addition, only registered with the league on the morning of the game, but looks like he could be a very useful addition and partner for Charlie.
For much of the first thirty minutes of the game, both teams tried to gain the upper hand, but few chances were created as most of the play took place between the two penalty areas. Only James Simmonds – back at Hampton following a spell at Hemel Hempstead Town – registered a goalbound attempt in the first half hour, and that was a wildly sliced shot from outside the box early on.
It was Hampton midfielder Jake Rose who had the first decent attempt on thirty two minutes. Ben Hunt was barged in the back when contesting a high ball, and Rose curled the resulting freekick into the side netting, leaving half the ground – myself included – thinking it had gone in.
It was the visitors who took the lead right at the end of the half, and with no shortage of controversy to accompany their first shot on goal. Centre back Matt Drage fouled former Hampton player Michael Bryan, no argument there. However, even though the Harrow players lined up the ball just outside the box for a free kick, referee Paul Howard somehow saw fit to award a penalty, even though the assistant whom the incident took place right in front of didn’t signal a spotkick. Nevertheless, up stepped Nik Salapatas to coolly put the gift away and give his side the lead. It was the only goal of the half, but Charlie Moone should have done better with a golden opportunity immediately from the restart. Hunt flicked a long ball into his path, and after getting away from his marker, he proceeded to lash his volley well over the bar.
Moone had the first effort of the second half, his well controlled volley deflected wide, but that was the only chance Hampton created for most of the half. Indeed, it was on-loan Brentford goalkeeper Mark Smith who kept Hampton in the match, making three saves to prevent Harrow doubling their advantage.
The first of those saves was the most comfortable. Salapatas put in a low cross from the left, which Lewis Driver connected with, albeit with a scuffed shot easily dealt with by Smith. The second save was the best, a stunning save low to his left to keep out Anthony Maissiat’s fierce volley, and the third was a decent one-on-one save to deny substitute Raheem Sterling-Parker.
As good as Smith’s second save was, it wasn’t a patch on the one pulled off by Harrow keeper Nick Jupp with three minutes remaining. Jake Rose hit a sweet volley from outside the box that arrowed toward the top corner, but Jupp flew to his left and not only managed to claw the ball out of the top corner, but also behind for a corner. It was easily one of the best saves I’ve ever seen live.
Unfortunately for Jupp, Hampton levelled from that corner! A scramble in the six yard box saw the ball land nicely for Mark Onyemah, and he gleefully lashed the ball into the roof of the net to seemingly earn a point. But in the first minute of stoppage time, Matt Drage curled a stunning shot past Jupp into his bottome left corner to spark scenes of wild celebration on the pitch, on the bench and in the stands.
The result is a huge one as things stand, as it puts eight points between Hampton and second bottom Harrow. For departing Harrow boss Dave Anderson, it was another horror show from his side, following their 2-4 defeat to East Thurrock last weekend in which they were 2-0 ahead.
This win is the perfect start to a busy week of home games for the Beavers, as they welcome a pair of promotion chasers in Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.
Posted on January 19, 2015, in Hampton & Richmond Borough and tagged Alan Dowson, Charlie Moone, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Harrow Borough, James Simmonds, Mark Onyemah, Mark Smith, Matt Drage, Nick Jupp, Nik Salapatas, Ryman Premier. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.