By Alex Watson
After a one hour coach journey, the Hampton U13As were raring to go as they prepared for their clash with Carshalton Boys Sports College in the second round of ESFA. Following a resounding a 6-0 win over Forest School in the opening round, the boys were feeling confident. However, a hardworking and well organised Carshalton side certainly gave the Second Years a run for their money.
The hosts had the first say in the match as a speculative long ball over the top was controlled well by the Carshalton striker and nudged home clinically into the bottom-right corner.
After a good opening spell from Hampton, the goal seemed to give their opponents new-found vigour, as they pressed hungrily for the second goal, forcing a string of fine saves from an impressive Seb Rautenberg between the posts.
However, the U13s managed to weather the storm and were rewarded when Marcus Solomon was put through; his lob slipped through the hands of the desperate goalkeeper.
Filled with confidence, Solomon was also heavily involved in the second goal, as Hampton tuned the game around to lead before half time, Rio Felonov-Tzanev finishing clinically into the bottom left corner to put Hampton ahead for the first time in the game.
Unfortunately for Hampton, their lead didn’t last long. Soon after the game restarted after half time, a fine strike from outside of the box hit the roof of the net and provided Carshalton with an equaliser.
Hampton didn’t give up and their desire was shown as they regained the advantage, a deflected shot from Solomon outside the box finding its way past the helpless goalkeeper.
A tense period of play followed, and it looked like the U13As were going to close out the game when a late goal was scored for Carshalton, following a game of pinball in the penalty area. As tired as the Hampton boys were, they had to pick themselves up and go again as extra time began, the score line at 3-3.
However, it was hardly the ideal start for Hampton, as a defensive mix up resulted in a loose ball falling straight to the feet of the Carshalton striker, who finished beautifully into the top left hand corner to put his side ahead.
Despite this, the resilient U13As did not give up, playing some lovely passing football. Deep into the first half of extra time, a stunner from Felix Burt ensured that the game would be going into the latter stages with the scoreline at 4-4.
After a tense passage of football, an overhit long ball seemed to be rolling through harmlessly to the Carshalton keeper. However, nobody told this to Felonov-Tzanev; showing great determination, the striker reached the ball before the central defenders, who realised too late that this was a valid scoring chance. The centre forward netted his eleventh goal of the season as he scooped the ball through the legs of the keeper and ensured that Hampton would be going through to the next round of the ESFA cup.
Though they had been made to work hard for it, the persevering Second Year Hamptonians never gave up and eventually came away with an impressive, well-earned 5-4 victory.