By Sam Colvine
The Hampton U16B team fended off the challenge of St Aloysius’ College to win 1-0 in an ESFA semI-final, making it three consecutive years that the team has represented the school in a national cup final.
As the game began, it was clear that it was going to be a scrappy affair, with the opposition using their physicality to disrupt Hampton’s customary silky passing play, and the opening exchanges were devoid of any real moves of substance.
However, the U16Bs showed their resilience and were able to fashion several chances, the most prominent of which was an Ollie Coles drive which was hammered just over the bar from the edge of the box.
The rest of the half passed uneventfully, with neither team able to elicit proper control of the match. Although the Hampton back line easily rebutted the attacking efforts of St Aloysius, the home team could not string a passing move together under sustained pressure from the opposition and, as the half-time whistle blew, both teams would have been feeling hopeful about the remainder of the game.
Hampton started the second half as the more confident team with the wingers beginning to make penetrative runs behind the opposition’s full backs.
This eventually led to the only goal of the match, as a dribbling Jude Glasson found his way past one defender only to be dispossessed by the next. However, the loose ball fell kindly for Mustafa Hussain, who calmly finessed it into the net, giving the U16Bs the lead.
From that moment on, it was the Hampton goal that looked most under threat, with St Aloysius striking a shot against the post and Arthur Bothamley forced into a fantastic save which, ultimately, along with a resolute defending display, ensured the Hampton win.
The U16Bs will be looking to end a run of two previous final-round losses as they battle for the trophy in the coming months.