By James Dowden, Magazine Editor at The Beveree
A late injury-time goal for Dulwich College secured them the London Independent Schools 1st XI cup at the expense of Hampton following a keenly fought contest at Hampton and Richmond Borough’s Beveree Stadium.
A first-half goal from talismanic striker Shaun-Chris Joash proved to be the highlight of the afternoon for Hampton as two headed goals put paid to Hampton’s dreams of a further trophy, having already been crowned U18 ESFA national champions this season.
Hampton made a composed start to the match and enjoyed the better of the opening phases of play. A break from central midfielder and captain George Maxwell gave the Hampton man a glimpse of the goal but a superb recovery tackle from the Dulwich winger saw the ball go out for a corner.
The set-piece was whipped in with venom by Maxwell and looked to be curling in for an ‘olympico-style’ goal but the Dulwich keeper managed to get a fingertip to the flight of the ball, diverting it over the bar and away to safety.
A weak clearance from the Dulwich keeper following high energy gegenpressing at the top of the pitch from Tim Sweeney and Joash resulted in winger Louis Rhodes picking the ball up inside the area with just the keeper to beat, but his toe-poked effort drifted agonisingly wide.
Joash was proving a handful for the Dulwich defence, like many a backline that he has come up against this season, as he duly dribbling past the fullback with a mazy set of skills before delicately clipping the ball back across the goalmouth. Arriving from deep was Maxwell and his left-footed volleyed effort was well saved by the Dulwich keeper.
A corner to Dulwich presented them with their opening goal. A simple flighted ball into the box was powerfully headed in from close range, and with one of their first meaningful attacks, Dulwich were ahead.
Hampton responded well though, and were soon back on level terms. An incisive pass from Sweeney through the centre found Joash clean though and he made no mistake with the finish, remarkably scoring Hampton’s 181st goal of the season. One-all at half-time.
The second half proved a cagey affair with neither side being able to truly assert their dominance. A ball laid on the edge of the Dulwich box found Rhodes, but his curling effort went wide; then Joash broke into the box but was just unable to release the ball.
Hampton’s best chance of the half fell to Maxwell. A corner taken by Harry Short, fresh onto the pitch, was forcefully met by Maxwell on the edge of the six-yard area, but alas his powerful effort crashed against the base of the post.
The Hampton ultras in the crowd were enthusiastic in their vociferous support for the side despite being outnumbered by the travelling contingent from Dulwich College. Chants of ‘Nigel Farage, he’s one of your own’ were met in equal measure by Dulwich fans who responded by chanting ‘he’s one of our own, he’s one of our own, Nigel Farage, he’s one of our own.’
As the former UKIP leader’s name rang around the hallowed turf of the Beveree stadium both sides desperately pressed for the goal that would surely prove the winner. However, as time ticked away it appeared that the sides would need an extension in the form of added time.
As the clock ticked into additional time Dulwich broke on the counterattack. As the winger raced down the left, the Dulwich striker waited in anticipation in the box. The ball floated in, to be clinically dispatched from close range. Another header, and late, late heartbreak for Hampton School