UTL’s Team of the Week 11th January
In a blatant show of bandwagon-jumping, it’s time for the inaugural Under The League Team of the Week awards!
Each Monday (at least that’s the plan!), I will pick out three teams from the nonleague ladder who deserve recognition for their performances over the past seven days.
Third Place – Hampton & Richmond Borough
Ok, so this one is a tad self indulgent, but is fully deserved. Alan Dowson’s Beavers have been in great form, hanging onto the coattails of leaders Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian League Premier Division. Last Saturday saw Hampton host local rivals Kingstonian at Beveree Stadium. Recent events with AFC Wimbledon could see this as a landlord-tenant derby in future, but for now it was the latest meeting between two sides with ambitions of moving up a league for next season.
Kingstonian – where Dowson was manager for seven years until last season – took an early lead through Aaron Morgan, a scoreline that remained intact until the 78th minute, when Nicke Kabamaba equalised before skipper Kieran Murphy and substitute Charlie Moone earned the points for the home side. The win was Hampton’s sixth in a row in the league, and leaves them just one point behind Hamlet, with two games in hand.
In my former life as a member of the volunteer staff at the club, one of my duties was to speak to ‘Dowse’ for his programme notes. He always maintained that the team would be challenging for promotion this season, and he is certainly being proved right at the moment.
Read Hampton Press Officer Rob Overfield’s report of the match here
Second Place: Eastleigh
It was a case of ‘what if’ for the National League Spitfires on Saturday, as they saw their moment of FA Cup glory cruelly snatched away right at the death.
Chris Todd’s side proved more than a match for their Championship opponents, and took the lead six minutes into the second half through an own goal from Dorian Dervite. Both sides had chances to score before Darren Pratley scrambled the ball in from a corner to force a replay.
Even though Bolton are bottom of the second tier, and in severe turmoil off the pitch, this would still have been a memorable scalp for Eastleigh, and victory would have guaranteed them team of the week awards all over the internet. They will still fancy their chances in the replay, but you can’t help feeling their big chance may have passed them by.
Watch the BBC highlights of the game here.
Winners: Tranmere Rovers
We’ve all done it, haven’t we? I’m talking about leaving a match before it’s finished. Well, anybody that did it on Saturday at Barrow missed an incredible finale.
Gary Brabin’s Tranmere led at half time thanks to an Adam Mekki penalty, and it remained 0-1 until the 67th minute, when Jason Walker netted a penalty of his own to equalise. Barrow looked as though they had secured the win with goals from Simon Grand and Andy Cook in the 82nd and 87th minutes.
What came next is arguably the greatest comeback ever. The visitors scored three times in the final minute to claim a remarkable 3-4 win. Lois Maynard, Jeff Hughes and Jake Kirby were the men to get the goals. The game also score seven goals scored by seven different scorers.
Read the BBC report on the game, with excerpts from both club’s twitter feeds, here.
Congratulations then to Tranmere Rovers, the inaugural Team of the Week on Under The League! If you would like to nominate a team you think deserves the accolade, get in touch on Twitter (@undertheleague).