By Ben Reggione
Saturday’s game was again a crucial one for both sides, Hampton have gone without a point for a few games previous, and Concord are coming off 2 unfortunate home game results. Passion was evident in each of our previous two home games yet we were unable to convert the chances we created through the game against Billericay.
It was built up to be an interesting game inevitably when both teams had come out to do pre game training. The weather was causing concern if it were to go ahead, the groundsmen and women put in a strong effort and the game was played through.
Once kick off had occurred both teams plans had become established, playing passes along the ground was a struggle, and tackles were accentuated with the slippery surface. The game had started quite frantic, certain areas of the ground had become tarnished. Long balls where the route through for both sides early on, especially with there being minimal bounce of the ball and it commonly sticking to the ground. Ben Allen on various occasions had made his way through into the final third, with supporting runs from Reid down the right hand side.
By the 7th minute Ben Allen had been able to apply strong pressure onto the defence through making his way past the back line, coming up one on one against the keeper but before Ben could shape himself up, the keeper was there to deny him. It was a positive start for the beachboys, there were segments of play which ignited hope within the fans, that a goal would eventually come. Hampton had also had there fair share of chances also in the first twenty minutes, with it primarily coming from set plays and loose balls outside of the box; although neither side had taken advantage it was soon looking as if it were upon the horizon.
The first goal of the game had gone to Hampton, coming from a good piece of play by Fisher, who made space for Miller to slot it in. Morale had far from dropped for the beachboys, it was still early on with another 60 minutes to be played out. Following this goal in the 32nd minute, Myles was presented with a few more challenges in quick succession but was able to keep the score at 1-0 until half time.
Concord had emerged in the second half as a team that had a point to prove, and that had an heir of rejuvenated attacking intent behind them. Jake Peck had throughout this game put in a strong shift for the team, and Joe Payne on his return came back instantly in the fine form of which he had left off. It wasn’t straight forward to piece together clear cut chances, but the team was able to organise various routes of attack in the hope that something could come off for the side. With the push for a goal ramped up more, with half an hour to go, James Blanchfield made way for Temi Babalola. As soon as Temi made his way onto the pitch, he made his presence known on a corner of which was played in. Unfortunately nothing came of it but Temi had started convincingly; Payne had been able to made contact with the ball in the air yet his header just went wide of the post.
After we had been on the up, pressing high and battling for second balls, Hampton had been able to work together a counter attack in the 70th minute which saw them plant the ball into the back of the net but fortunately this had been offside. This chance was soon followed by two substitutes; in the 77th minute Reid made way for Afrane-Kesey and in the 80th Payne made way for Domi.
Out of simply a throw in, in the 89th minute the ball had came to Jake Pecks feet and from a staggering thirty yards out he had planted it straight into the top corner, it’s probably one of the best goals of the season and it couldn’t have simply come at a better time. But it was as if disaster had struck, Hampton had made there way through, a shot was taken and it rebounded off of one of our own players to make the score 2-1 to the home side. Five minutes extra time wasn’t enough for the boys to level the score, and after all the hard work put in and Jake Pecks wonder strike a draw would have been a fair result.
The beachboys play again away at Dulwhich Hamlet on the 22nd of January and this could prove to a strong test for the side. Dulwhich are currently sitting seventh in the league but as we know, the league is a very congested one, all it would take for the boys to turn it around would be to have a half decent run of results to see themselves battle it out for playoff positions. Your travelling support would be once again appreciated massively for this upcoming fixture.