By Sam Colvine
Looking to replicate last year’s successful cup run, the U15B team defeated Brentwood School 3-1 in the semi-final to book a place in the final of the ESFA Cup.
This win takes them into a second final in successive years, as the team seek to avoid a repeat of last year’s defeat.
As always, the team looked to press the opposition hard from kick off, passing with precision and pace, eager to net a crucial first goal. Their energetic build up play, along with driving runs from the wingers, allowed the Hampton team to challenge the Brentwood keeper early in the game with powerful efforts on goal.
This strategy bore fruit almost immediately as a formidable Patrick Helm shot from outside the box was spilled by the keeper, giving an opportunity for Fergus MacEacharn to ease the ball into the back of the net to take Hampton ahead.
It is often said that a team is most vulnerable straight after they score, yet this was certainly not the case for U15Bs. As Brentwood attempted to play out from the back, Hampton striker Emad Khan was lurking. After a poor touch by the defender, Khan outmuscled him, robbing Brentwood of the ball and nonchalantly stroking a near post shot into the back of the net.
Hampton had a number of chances as half-time drew ever closer and with what could be the last kick of the half, Jude Glasson stepped up to take a corner. He floated a delightful ball in, allowing Khan to divert the ball past the outstretched arm of the keeper with a towering header, to grab his second of the game. Hampton went into the half-time with a 3-0 lead and a place in the final looking likely.
Going into the second half, Hampton looked to hold out rather than chase a fourth goal, unwilling to risk being caught on the counter-attack and concede. Although they initially succeeded in stifling any sign of a Brentwood attack, a creative string of passes broke the Hampton line of defence and the Brentwood winger was in on goal. He quickly cut inside and despatched the ball into the far corner, leaving keeper Xandy Slater with no chance.
From that point on, Brentwood were the dominant force, frantically attempting to fight their way back with another goal. However, the robust Hampton defence held strong and, although sometimes challenged by balls in behind, they ably dealt with any chances that Brentwood managed to obtain.
Fortunately, Brentwood’s goal tally increased no further and Hampton emerged 3-1 victors. They look forward to their season-defining cup final later in the season – a repeat of last year’s final against Sandbach School.