OK, I know it’s a cliche, but the game that took place at the Beveree Stadium on Saturday October 22nd was just that: a game of two halves. In the first half, Hampton & Richmond Borough were awful, and were lucky to be only two down at halftime to their visitors, Havant & Waterlooville. The second half, though, was a completely different story. Three goals, two more disallowed, a header off the bar and a penalty saved. And all of that was for the home side! Oh, and their goalkeeper got injured, and a defender had to go in goal as they didn’t have a sub ‘keeper on the bench!
Havant & Waterlooville took the lead on four minutes when Lee Peacock’s freekick was deflected over home keeper Matt Lovett. It could have been two, when Peacock unleashed a shot from all of thirty five yards, but he was unlucky to see it clip the post and go wide. The visitors did double their lead, though, when Scott Jones scored the first of his two goals in the game, tapping in the rebound after a good save by Lovett. Hampton didn’t look like troubling the visitors defence on too many occasions, but Dave Tarpey should have scored after 24 minutes, but his left foot shot was scuffed across the face of goal. Halftime, and at two-nil down, there was little sign of what the second half would bring.
Five minutes into the second half, and Nathan Collier scored a superb solo goal to get Borough back into the match. Picking up the ball out on the right, he proceeded to take on all comers, eventually winding his way into the area and finished well to make it 1-2. Within a couple of minutes it could have been two each, but Tarpey was correctly given offside as he lobbed the keeper brilliantly. On 58 minutes, it was 2-2 though. James Simmonds, easily Borough’s best player, cut in from the left and curled a stunner into the top corner. Cue mass celebrations between the players on the pitch and the supporters standing behind the goal. The joy was to be short-lived though. Within a minute and Scott Jones had scored his second to put the visitors 2-3 up. The goal definitely came against the run of play. The drama was far from over though.
With twenty five minutes to go, Hampton had their second goal ruled out for offside, and again it was probably the correct decision. As a freekick was floated to the far post, Dean Inman was marginally ahead of the defence when he headed home. Borough were given a golden chance to equalise from the penalty spot after a foul on impressive leftback JJ O’Donnell. However, Simmonds’ tame spot kick was comfortably saved. The home side then rattled the crossbar from a header before a long stoppage delayed proceedings.
Hampton keeper Matt Lovett jumped to claim a cross, but landed awkwardly, jarring his right knee. He received treatment for around five minutes before carrying on. However, when he then kicked the ball to restart play, he went down again, and was taken off after further treatment. As there was no goalie on the bench, centreback Bily Jefferies took over between the sticks. He didn’t have an awful lot to do though, as Hampton pushed for an equaliser. They managed to get it in the six minutes of stoppage time that was added on, when Dave Tarpey stayed on his feet despite a tackle, and fired home with his left foot to rescue a deserved point for The Beavers.
The crowd on the day was 475, and they were treated to one of the best halves of football they will have seen in a long time. However, Borough remain bottom of the Blue Square South table, and a point was not the result they would have been looking for.