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. Read the rest of this entry
Preseason is well and truly upon us now, and this weekend I was able to take in two games on the same day. Heaven! Read the rest of this entry
Lowestoft Town made the 340 mile round trip to Hampton and left with all three points thanks to a dramatic first half which saw two goals and two red cards.
Hampton & Richmond Borough reached their second Middlesex Senior Cup final in three seasons after coming from behind three times to beat Hendon by the odd goal in seven.
Hampton management duo Paul Barry and Darren Powell named a very strong lineup, with only the front two not normally first choice. Ex-Hendon man Belal Aite-Ouakrim and Aaron Wickham were partnered upfront. Belal had scored four against Northwood in the previous round, while Wickham has suffered with injury recently.
Hendon started brightly, and took the lead ten minutes in. A simple through ball split the Hampton defence and Jack Bennett smashed the ball past Rodney Chiweshe. However, straight from the kickoff Hampton equalised. A lovely ball from Tom Hickey over the Hendon defence found Joe Turner in space on the left. He skinned Max McCann before pulling the ball back perfectly for Aaron Wickham to slot home with the outside of his right foot.
Hendon had a great chance to restore their lead when Hickey gave the ball away to Bennett in midfield. Bennett set Jonathan Hippolyte clear, but Chiweshe stood tall and saved the striker’s shot. However, Hendon did go in front once more after 29 minutes. Bennett skipped past the challenge of Tommy Brewer on the left, before standing up a brilliant cross to the far post where an unmarked Dave Diedhiou nodded in. But, as with the first lead, this one only lasted a minute. Luke Wanadio, Joe Turner and Tommy Brewer combined down the right wing, and Brewer received the final ball from Wanadio, before managing to squeeze the ball past Laurencin at the near post to level things once more.
Ten minutes before the break, Hendon took the lead for a third time through a Michael Murray penalty. I didn’t have the clearest view of the incident from the opposite end of the ground, but it apeared to be given for a shirt pull. Aaron Wickham had a couple of good opportunities to score before the break, but he found Laurencin in fine form. The first one saw Belal Aite-Ouakrim expertly control a high ball before laying it out to Wanadio on the right. His ball found Wickham in space, and the striker’s powerful shot was well saved by Laurencin down to his right. Seconds later, Wanadio again found Wickham, but this time the shot had the sting taken off it by a defensive block. Half Time: Hendon 3 Hampton 2
Hendon made two changes at the break, with Jose Figura and Anthony Thomas replacing Kevin Maclaren and Jack Bennett. Hampton started the half brightly, with Justyn Roberts connecting with a Hickey corner, but his volley was tipped over by Laurencin. From the corner, Aaron Wickham’s volley bounced into the ground and just over. At the other end, Anthony Thomas brought a fine save from Chiweshe.
Most of the Hampton chances were falling to Wickham, and his powerful header from a Wanadio cross went inches wide. Just before the hour mark, though, and Hampton had their third equaliser. A superb through ball from Wanadio found Belal Aite-Ouakrim in the penalty area, and the ex-Hendon striker returned to haunt his old club with an emphatic first time finish. With ten minutes to go, Hampton were awarded a penalty when Aite-Ouakrim latched onto a through ball and was brought down by Laurencin. The goalkeeper was sent off, rather harshly perhaps as there were covering defenders. There was a delay of a few minutes while the replacement got himself ready to come on. Hendon – rather unusually for nonleague football – had a goalkeeper on the bench in the form of Joe McDonnell. Midfielder Archange Nkumu was the man sacrificed. Aaron Wickham stepped up to fire the penalty home and put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match.
And that’s how it finished. A superb match ended 3-4, and Hampton will now face Wealdstone in a repeat of the 2012 final, which Hampton won 2-0. The final will take place at Wealdstone’s current home ground The Vale in Ruislip on Easter Monday, April 21st with a 7:45pm kickoff.
Hendon FC 3
Hampton & Richmond Borough 4
Wickham 11 & 83(pen)
Maidstone United inflicted Hampton’s heaviest ever Isthmian League defeat on Saturday, running out 7-2 winners in a superb match. Well, for home fans and neutrals anyway!
On their now famous 3G pitch, the Stones were definitely the better side, although I don’t think they were five goals better. Two goals in the closing stages added gloss to the scoreline, when I think 5-2 would have been a fairer reflection. Instead of depressing myself by doing a standard match report and reliving the horror, especially as this report is being written three days after the game, I thought I would instead report on the day in general. For highlights of the match, click here to be taken to United’s site. For the Hampton view on things, check out Rob Overfield’s report.
Myself and my soon to be five year old son Callum decided to travel on the coach with the players and fans for the first time. There were a couple of reasons for this; firstly, it was a reasonably short journey – about ninety minutes – so it was a good one to start with. Secondly, the parking at the ground is restricted, and not wanting to end up a mile from the ground, coach it was.
My first impressions of the Gallagher Stadium have not been changed since Saturday. I didn’t like it (and no the result doesn’t influence my opinion). Don’t get me wrong; the staff were great, as was the food (more on that in a while), but I couldn’t shake the thought that the place looked more like a Goals Soccer Centre than a football ground. The 3G pitch obviously added to that feeling, but it was the whole package that made it just seem, well, a bit temporary to me. There’s no doubt that the club are moving forward (assuming they’re allowed to) and they should be proud to be back home in Maidstone, but the place just seemed unfinished. Which it undoubtedly is. There is definitely scope to expand should they earn the right to be promoted, and maybe a second visit will have a different effect on me.
So, the food. Oh wow, the food! I was delighted to see three outlets serving food, with one being called The Pie Hut. This is where I decided to sate my prematch hunger with a chicken balti pie meal deal. The man serving asked if I wanted mushy peas and gravy with my pie and chips, to which my reply was “I’m from Yorkshire. Of course I do!” The whole meal came to £4.50, which I can honestly say was fantastic value when you consider the burgers were only a pound less. If you happen upon this corner of Kent on your travels this season, I heartily recommend partaking of one yourself.
And so onto proceedings on the pitch. It all started off so brightly for Hampton. Charlie Moone clipped a ball through to Dave Tarpey to open the scoring after just ninety seconds, slotting the ball past Lee Worgan with the outside of his right boot. A lovely finish to get the travelling faithful dreaming of being the first club to come and take full points away with them. And the Beavers had a couple of chances in the following ten minutes to double the advantage, but Moone and Tarpey were both denied by Worgan. Two goals in five minutes, from Zac Attwood and Alex Brown turned the game on its head before twenty minutes had elapsed. The signs were there that this was going to be a goal fest.
Dave Tarpey turned provider just past the half hour, playing in Joe Turner. The winger had plenty of time to size up his shot, and finished superbly to restore parity. At the other end, Hampton ‘keeper Rodney Chiweshe produced one of many excellent saves, keeping out Alex Flisher’s header. Minutes later, Chiweshe was at it again, saving Frannie Collin’s free kick brilliantly, before following up with another two superb stops in the ensuing scramble. Flisher did restore Maidstone’s lead six minutes before the break, drilling a low shot inside Chiweshe’s near post.
The second half started as the first half finished; with the home side on top. Attwood fired a shot wide, before Collin’s shot deflected off Alex Finney and past a wrong footed Chiweshe to put Stones 4-2 up. Lee Worgan came off his line quickly to smother the ball from first Tarpey and then Moone, before Chiweshe again pulled off a great save, denying Collin from close range. However, the home side were soon three goals in front as Jack Parkinson headed in from a corner.
To their credit, Hampton never looked like giving up, with first George Wells shooting over, and then Moone hitting an instant shot which Worgan saved well at his near post. The sixth goal was not long in coming though. Chiweshe saved from Collin, but the rebound fell at the feet of Michael Phillips who could hardly miss. And two minutes later, the rout was complete as Charley Robertson fired past Chiweshe. Hampton substitute Ben Harris came close to netting the game’s tenth goal, but his header flashed narrowly wide.
The referee brought the game to a close, and Hampton had conceded 7 (seven) for the first time in nigh on two decades. Amazingly, not only were nine goals scored, but they were scored by nine different players! I can’t remember ever hearing of more individuals scoring once each in a match, can you?
Charlie Moone took his season’s tally to thirty goals in all competitions with a brace as Hampton & Richmond Borough came from two down to draw with high flying Dulwich Hamlet in an eventful game littered with strange decisions from the officials. Read the rest of this entry
Wouldn’t you just believe it? A stunning pair of victories over Christmas saw Hampton & Richmond Borough move up the Ryman League Premier Division table, finally recording the results that recent performances have deserved. And then the weather happens. Their last two matches – very winnable looking fixtures at Cray Wanderers and at home to Bury Town – have fallen victim to the horrendous rain and storms that have hit the majority of the country, leaving fans and players alike frustrated at the stalling of their season.
Those two wins over Christmas were the first time this season that the team have strung together back-to-back league victories. And the most impressive thing about the wins? They were against the top two sides in the division. Boxing Day saw a fourteen minute second half hattrick from top scorer Charlie Moone help Beavers to a stunning 4-1 win over local rivals Kingstonian. Two days later, Moone again scored as his teammates recorded a 3-1 success at leaders Wealdstone. Perhaps the most striking thing about these wins, other than them coming against the two best sides in the league, was that in both matches they came from a goal down. This really goes to show that team spirit and confidence is high.
All in all, December was a good month results wise, but it could have been so much better. While they remained unbeaten in their five league games with three wins and two draws, those two draws could so easily have been wins too. Late, late equalisers for both Lewes and Margate saw victory turn to draws, and four points lost. Instead of being in thirteenth, the club could be sitting in the top ten, and only be eleven points off a playoff place. As it stands, the gap is a rather too large for comfort fifteen points to fifth placed Maidstone United, but with the team in such good form, that gap could shrink quickly.
Towards the back end of last season, the club changed managers, with Mark Harper departing and being replaced by a joint managership of former Camberley boss Paul Barry and Hampton legend Darren Powell. They took the reins for the final nine games of last season, and immediately supporters saw an upturn in the team’s performances. Three wins and three draws followed, and a busy preseason of signings and squad rebuilding has led to Paul and Darren assembling an excellent, youthful squad – including bringing back Moone from a spell at Boreham Wood – that is showing great potential and signs of putting together a great run.
And then we get the weather enforcing an unwanted winter break. Just two defeats in thirteen league games has seen The Beavers climb up the table after a poor start saw them not win any of their first five league encounters, despite playing reasonably well. Now, though, the results are starting to match the performances, fuelling faint hopes that a playoff push could be on the horizon. And lets face it, if they were to put that sort of run together, they would be hard to stop in said playoffs!
More New Signings
Recently, Paul and Darren have added yet more quality young players to the squad, along with an old favourite returning. Dave Tarpey, a striker who scored 42 goals in 125 games in his previous spell at Beveree, has rejoined after being released from his contract by Conference South side Farnborough. With Charlie Moone being far and away our top scorer with 26 goals already this season, it has long been a priority to get in another proven goalscorer to take some of the responsibilty. “Tarps” was prolific before in the Conference South, and should be a lethal frontman in the Ryman Premier. He also provided one of my most memorable moments in my relatively short time as a Beavers’ supporter – hooking in a volley to secure the Middlesex Senior Cup against Wealdstone back in April 2012. Whether he can form a successful partnership with Moone could be the key to Hampton’s season.
The other three new players to join the club are all about potential. Former Chelsea and Spurs youngster Freddy Champion joins from QPR to add numbers to midfield, along with Jake Hicks, who has been promoted from the reserve team. Hicks was at Woking last season, and was voted their Under-18 Player of the Year. Finally, striker Ben Harris joins from Windsor, where he had a better than one-in-two strike rate. All three are sure to get fans excited, and hopefully they can have a big impact on the remaining portion of the season.
The Coming Months
Despite already being into January, Hampton have played less than half their scheduled league games. With twenty four matches still to play, that means it’s going to be Saturday-Tuesday for the next few months, as on top of the league games there are County Cup commitments too. No other team in the division has played less games, and Hampton have as many as three games in hand on the teams above them. Of course, as the old cliche says: points on the board are better than games in hand, but if you’re in form when those extra matches come around, then it can end up being a blessing in disguise that they were postponed in the first place. Every player in the squad will get plenty of time on the pitch, and it will be up to them to show that they are worthy of a place in the team.
Back in August, I predicted – rather biased perhaps – that Hampton would win the playoffs and gain promotion back to Step Two. Who knows, despite the weather’s best attempts to derail our season, maybe I will be proved right!
A brace of brilliant finishes from top scorer Charlie Moone earned a hard fought victory for Hampton on their second trip to Essex in a fortnight. Read the rest of this entry
The Beavers somehow exited this season’s Robert Dyas League Cup after a 3-1 defeat against Metropolitan Police at Imber Court. Club captain Billy Jeffreys made his welcome return to the first team after three months on the sidelines, and was partnered in central defence by Nick Grosvenor. Kofi Halliday and Luke Wanadio were on the wings, with Dan Thompson and Reis Stanislaus upfront.
The hosts got the perfect start, taking the lead after just five minutes. Rodney Chiweshe saved a shot from Jordan Bird, but the ball fell kindly to Billy Bennett to tap into the net. Hampton almost replied immediately, but Karle Carder’s header from Luke Wanadio’s cross was straight at Stuart Searle. However, on twelve minutes the hosts doubled their lead when Jonte Smith fired in a volley from a left wing cross. Smith then missed a gilt-edged chance when he put a free header wide.
After going two down, Hampton started to assert themselves on the match. Tom Hickey had a header flash past the angle of post and bar, while Dan Thompson met a Wanadio cross with a superb volley which Searle somehow turned away. In first half stoppage time, another cross from Wanadio found it’s way through to Kofi Halliday at the back post. He managed to squeeze a shot away, only to be denied by Searle. Several times durting the half, Searle flapped at crosses and was lucky to be bailed out by his defence, but Hampton just could not find the breakthrough. Half Time: Met Police 2 HRBFC 0
The second half saw Hampton create countless chances as they sought a way back into the match. Billy Jeffreys had an effort that Searle initially fumbled but then gathered at the second attempt. Stanislaus then brought a fantastic save from the home keeper, as Searle flew to his right to keep out the striker’s header. Charlie Moone replaced Stanislaus soon after. A long shot from Carder was fumbled once more by Searle, but again he was able to gather at the second attempt. With twenty five minutes remaining, Joe Turner replaced Thompson and joined Charlie in attack. Three minutes later, Luke Wanadio had the goal his superb performance deserved. Racing clear of the home defence, he opened his body out and finished expertly past Searle to register his first goal for the club.
After the goal, it really seemed as though Beavers would be taking the game to penalties at the very least. Charlie Moone had a shot saved, then Joe Turner’s effort squirmed under Searle and somehow wide. As so often happens, the team doing all the attacking doesn’t get the reward, and in the last minute, Jonte Smith notched his second, again being in the right place to tap home after a shot rebounded off the bar.
So, out of the tournament we go, but for joint managers Paul Barry and Darren Powell, along with the travelling faithful, it will be a while before we figure out just how we didn’t win!
Metropolitan Police 3 (Bennett 5, Smith 12 & 89)
Hampton 1 (Wanadio 68)
Hampton: Chiweshe, Brewer, Taylor, Hickey, Grosvenor, Jeffreys (Brewster 88), Wanadio, Carder, Thompson (Turner 68), Stanislaus (Moone 62), Halliday. Unused subs: Wells, Mills.
Man of the Match: Luke Wanadio. A stellar performance from the right winger. Time and again he showed brilliant footwork to beat his man consistently, and his crossing was superb. A top finish for his goal capped a brilliant individual performance.
Hampton & Richmond Borough were defeated in a match they started dominantly on Canvey Island, with John Sands netting a brace for The Gulls on his debut.
The day saw plenty of rain in the morning, and several postponements up and down the leagues (even Concord Rangers’ home match was called off!), but the pitch at Prospects Stadium was in fine fettle for the clash. And it was Hampton who started the brighter of the two teams, with Charlie Moone firing The Beavers in front after just six minutes. A fine move, one of many in the first half hour, saw Belal Aite-Ouakrim spray the ball out to Joe Turner on the right. Turner’s first time volley cushioned the ball perfectly into the path of Moone, and the club’s top scorer fired a first time shot through the legs of Canvey keeper Joshua Vickers. It was Charlie’s seventeenth goal already this campaign, and his eleven league goals make him the second top scorer in the Ryman Premier. The home defenders, and fans, felt there was a strong hint of offside about the goal, but it stood and Hampton were ahead.
The Beavers dominated the opening exchanges, but were unable to add to their lead. Just three minutes after the goal, Karle Carder and Aite-Ouakrim combined well, before the ball was worked out to Turner. The winger shot, but a deflection looped the ball harmlessly into Vickers’ hands. It wasn’t until the 26th minute that we saw the home side have their first chance, John Sands firing wide, wasting a very presentable chance.
Another good break from Hampton saw a pacey curling cross from Turner met by the head of Moone, but the striker’s glancing header went wide. The next chance again fell to Moone, this time a left foot half volley on the turn that went over the bar. The shot was the culmination of good buildup play involving James Simmonds and Aite-Ouakrim.
As is so often the case, though, the home side equalised on forty minutes, somewhat against the general run of the game. Like Hampton’s opener, it had more than a hint of offside about it. John Sands – signed for an undisclosed fee from Bury Town, where he was the league’s top scorer last season – latched onto a good through ball and powered an emphatic shot past Rodney Chiweshe. Sands then had a chance to put the hosts in front before the break, but his scissor kick went wide. Half Time Canvey Island 1 Hampton 1
If it was Hampton who started the first half the brighter, it was the home side who came out of the blocks quickest in the second. A long range shot from skipper Matt Game was straight at Chiweshe, but just minutes later they were in front. Sands hit a volley from distance which Chiweshe tipped away. However, the ball was put back into the box, and after an almighty scramble ensued, Sands smashed the ball home from close range to make it 2-1.
Charlie Moone had a chance to equalise just before the hour, but he dragged his shot wide. Marcus Rose then almost gifted Canvey a third as his loose pass allowed Harrison Chatting a clear run on goal. As he bore down on goal, Chiweshe came out to meet him and close down the angle, eventually gathering the ball bravely at the winger’s feet. Warren McBean then got on the end of a cross from the right, but his header went straight to Chiweshe.
Luke Wanadio, on as a substitute for Simmonds, went on a driving run and hit a powerful shot that narrowly missed the angle of post and bar. The last couple of Hampton chances fell to Moone, but on both occasions he dragged his shot wide. In fact, Canvey could have made it 3-1 in the dying minutes, but Chiweshe tipped over Simon Thomas’ shot.
Canvey Island 2 (Sands 40 & 56)
Hampton 1 (Moone 6)