By Josh Hood
The Hampton U14As battled hard against Beaumont School only to lose 3-2 in extra time despite some great performances from all members of the team.
The opening few minutes played host to exciting play and good development from Hampton which was topped off by a burst of pace down the wing from Hayden Christian and a brilliant cross, over the goalkeeper, clinically converted by Paddy Harvey through a controlled volley into the open net.
However, to cancel out the dream start for the home side, Beaumont replied, taking advantage of their spell of five minute dominance to skip past a player before winning a penalty off the flailing leg of a Hampton defender. The striker stepped up and smashed the ball to the keepers bottom left, almost having been saved by the outstretched hand of Conrad Knight.
To add to this, momentum stayed with the visitors as they created several more chances, producing a threat in all areas of the field. Once again, they earned a free kick about 40 yards out before they floated the ball into the box, that was then greeted by a Ronaldo-esque leap and header into the top corner of the net to gain the lead for his side.
The rest of the first half consisted of similar pace and strength displayed by Beaumont providing a slight dominance but no real clear cut opportunities.
Despite this, knowing it was going to be a tough half ahead, Hampton incorporated a high press in the game, forcing the opposition back and ultimately turning the tides of the game. Once Beaumont were sitting back, the U14As could begin to take advantage of the possession that they had and find gaps in the defensive and increasingly fatigued opposing side.
To show evidence for this, one particular play contained lovely link up between Jamie Wilson and Chibby Nwoko before the latter was played in. Having taken it round the keeper and been brought down, seconds later a penalty was awarded and a chance arose for Wilson to get his side back in the game. Calmly and collectively as ever, he sent the keeper the wrong way, opening up his body to slot it into the bottom left corner.
While a continuation of the tense, intriguing atmosphere was present deep into injury time, nothing else came in the way of goals, presenting an even more exciting climax for the remainder of the tie.
The battling was still a large factor for great parts of extra time until, for the third of the game, yet another penalty was awarded, this time to Beaumont. Once again, the striker stepped up confidently and striked it home, just out of Knight’s reach, to the keeper’s left, only this time high.
This marked the opening of a ten minute spell of pressure from Hampton, including many corners and last ditch bits of play in the penalty area. In the dying minutes, Nwoko dribbled past two players before unleashing a shot at the defenceless goal, but his efforts were in vain and Hampton fell to a devastating defeat.
Although out, the U14As were very unlucky to get the result they did against a very strong, county champion side and they still have a Surrey Cup Quarter Final to look forward to against Carshalton.