By Arun Crowe and Neel Mohindra
After an early start and a long bus journey to Hemel Hempstead, the U13A, B, C, D and E teams were all welcomed to the grounds of Berkhamsted School. The opposition, made clear by their number of teams, were a formidable opponent but little did they know that all of their teams were in for an extremely tough match.
The C team were lacking some of their key players; Muhammed Ali was missing the fixture and Ed Baker had temporarily been moved up to the B team, and that was evident when they went 1-0 down within seven minutes, despite dominating the game in the opening minutes. However, Hampton kept their heads up and equalised just minutes after conceding as Yuvraj Sahota finished brilliantly from a tight angle.
The momentum was building in Hampton’s favour and for the second time in the match, Sahota capitalised on that as he scored his second and fired Hampton into the lead via a significant deflection.
At around the fifteen minute mark, the first set of substitutions were made as Joshua Chapman and Neel Mohindra came onto the pitch, and the latter made an instant impact as he scored with just his second touch of the match, intercepting a pass from the goalkeeper and doubling Hampton’s lead.
The Lions were dominating at this point, keeping the ball in the opposition half and creating chances again and again. As Joshua Chapman drove in a powerful, low corner, it ricocheted off an unfortunate Berkhamsted defender and into the back of the net, to make it 4-1.
The goals kept on coming. Sahota completed his hat-trick in superb fashion with a fantastic strike from outside the box before Chapman got his first with a well-placed finish into the bottom corner and the first half ended 6-1 in Hampton’s favour.
More substitutions were made as the second half began, but another set of problems became apparent for Hampton, as now they were not only facing the sun, but were also attacking up the slope, meaning they would have to work twice as hard to get the ball up the pitch.
Berkhamsted started the second half positively as they dominated the first ten minutes and got a deserved goal to make it 6-2. However, Chapman completed his brace just minutes later and restored Hampton’s five goal lead and their dominant grip on the game.
As the game entered its final fifteen minutes, the final set of substitutions were made and they instantly added a bright spark to Hampton’s play as Dylan McNamara clinically fired in his first of the game, before Lander Kauenhoven-Wrenn scored his well-deserved goal.
The U13Cs left Berkhamsted feeling proud of the result.