By Omer Demiral
Hampton took to the 3G to play their first ISFA cup fixture of the season, a bye taking them automatically to the second round, where they won 5-0 in comfortable fashion.
St John’s kicked off to get the match underway, Hampton were lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation looking to win their second game in a row.
From the get-go Hampton found joy down the left flank with James Queen using his acceleration to leave behind the chasing defenders. His crosses were of great quality too and Hampton’s striker, Nic Herrero lurked inside the box waiting to pounce on an opportunity.
The first goal came exactly like that, except it was Sam Bond’s bursting run into the box that met Queen’s cross. An early goal for Hampton set the tone for the rest of the match.
The in-form Michael Azoo brought Hampton their second goal, another assist coming from the brilliant Queen. From this point onwards Hampton seemed to increase in strength as the minutes went by.
Towards half-time the rain began to pour down as the battle to advance to the next round became more and more intense.
St John’s had a chance to get back into the game; a through ball to the opposition striker was met with a powerful shot, saved expertly by Hampton’s keeper Sam Ellis. The deflection led to an opportunity for a tap in. St John’s central midfielder closed in on the chance, but he was swarmed by the Hampton trio of Will Fox, Joe Murray and Omer Demiral. He managed to get a knee to the ball which slammed against the woodwork. A sigh of relief for the home team.
The second half began vibrantly with both teams really beginning to push to attack. St John’s committed men forward, resulting in Hampton’s super midfield of Josh King, Sam Bond and Ben Moffatt managing to locate the cracks in the opposition defence, which they exploited fantastically.
Hampton’s shape was narrow and impenetrable in defence, wide and perilous in attack. One of numerous crosses by Ed Knott found Azoo on the edge of the box. Gathering his feet, Azoo smashed the ball sweetly, arrowing it into the top left-hand corner. St John’s keeper left stunned; Hampton celebrated a magnificent goal.
Pressing, forcing mistakes had seemingly become Hampton’s motto as the fourth goal arrived in that exact fashion. The persistent pressure applied on St John’s meant the ball ended up in the penalty area as Jay Cairnes pounced and finished, his first goal of the 2021/22 season for the U15A side.
The last goal marked two major individual feats for Hampton’s attacking players. Queen got his third assist and Azoo achieved his hat-trick, striking home to wrap up a stunning all round performance.
Watching on Mr Burke and Mr Mills were pleased and commented, “It was a great win today and we’re looking forward to the next round in this competition, and to all our following fixtures.”