By Alex Watson
With five players unavailable, Hampton had their work cut out as they travelled to Walthamstow to play Forest School in the opening encounter of their ESFA campaign. With many players playing out of position, the boys had to step up if they were to progress to the next round of the competition.
Despite the weakened side, with just 11 players in the squad, Hampton were on the front foot throughout the game, and took the lead when striker Alessandro Cardinale curled in a fine effort from just outside the box.
After an anxious period in the game, in which the U13As couldn’t convert despite taking many speculative long shots, they finally doubled their lead as Jasper Bird bundled home from a cross.
Hampton made it a three goal cushion just before half time, bolstering their strong position and indeed their confidence as Cardinale slotted home after a great counter attack.
Although it took time to score again after the break, the fourth goal finally arrived as some great pressure was rewarded, Casper Strouts cutting inside and lashing his shot past the keeper.
As the minutes ebbed away, Freddie Thwaite and Felix Burt sealed the victory with two great goals. Thwaite’s goal in particular was a stunning effort; the full-back converting from some thirty yards out with a dipping shot which was made all the more satisfying by the fact that it was guided in by the crossbar.
Overall, it was a great win for Hampton, as they showed great team spirit to win so convincingly in what was a tough situation. The U13As progress into the second round of the ESFA cup looking ahead excitedly to the rounds ahead.