By Omer Demiral
A magnificent team effort inspired Hampton to a 2-1 away win over Beths Grammar School, Bexley in the ESFA Cup Third Round.
Two late goals from Sam Bond and Nick Herrero gave Hampton victory in the dying minutes of the game in a tense and exhilarating fixture.
Hampton kicked off and were immediately pressurised by a well-organised Beths side, who posed the first real threat as a ball behind the Hampton back-line was mishit by their striker.
Sam Ellis in the Hampton goal wasn’t troubled by a rather tame effort.
Next it was Hampton’s turn to play a ball in behind. A powerful clearance by Hampton ended up as a target to chase for Herrero who demonstrated blistering speed to get one-on-one with the keeper. He hit his shot low but the keeper saved.
It remained 0-0. Most of the game so far was a battle for the ball in midfield. Bond, Savan Soni and Josh King did very well in winning the ball and playing Hampton’s wingers through, but the chances couldn’t be converted.
Towards the end of the first half, Beths’ winger cut inside and slammed a fizzing effort into the back of the net from outside the box to give Beths a one-goal half-time lead.
Hampton started the second half with evident gusto and enthusiasm. Herrero was played through brilliantly by King but a left-footed effort went agonisingly wide.
In the second half, Hampton were excellent defensively, only allowing one shot in the whole half, though Beths had the majority of possession and looked a threat every time they went forward.
However, during one of these attacks, Hampton caught Beths on the counter-attack. King brought the ball up to the half-way line and then played it through to Bond. Bond raced through and was able to poke the ball past the keeper to bring Hampton back on level terms with two minutes left to play.
Beths pushed even harder now to recover the lead they had lost. But Hampton’s backline stayed disciplined and now Beths were caught on the counter-attack again.
James Queen passed it to King who played Bond through. The Hampton attackers were held in check and had to wait for reinforcements but Soni came dashing through and after a few dizzying tricks played it to Herrero, who twisted, turned, shot and scored.
Hampton had won the game. They progress to the next round of the ESFA cup with a hard-fought win.
“We were excellent defensively” said Mr. Trivedi after the game. “I can’t say we deserved it but in the end we battled hard and won the match.”