By Omer Demiral
Hampton’s U15A side faced three crucial challenges in the space of a week. A historically exciting block fixture against Eton on a cold Saturday morning commenced the run of games.
Eton School are a traditionally strong footballing team and the past seven fixtures had provided no victories for Hampton. An extremely strong performance from the current U15A team gave Hampton their first win against Eton since 2014.
Hampton began the match well, zipping the ball around the chasing Eton players who couldn’t chain more than three passes without Hampton’s relentless press recovering the ball. The succinct and determined style of football became increasingly accurate as the minutes went by and good play from Josh King and James Queen down the left flank earned Hampton a penalty kick. Sam Bond immediately picked the ball up with confidence. After a short run-up he slotted the ball in the bottom right corner sending the keeper the wrong way.
Carrying on their brilliance on the ball Hampton had numerous other chances in front of goal with Nick Herrero, Queen and Michael Azoo all testing the keeper. Ben Moffatt and Bond continued to move the ball swiftly in midfield too. Eventually, Bond played a brilliant lobbed pass switching the play from left to right. Ed Knott received the pass and took an excellent touch with his chest allowing him to play an accurate pass into the box eventually finding Azoo who twisted and volleyed the ball into the bottom corner. A sublime finish and overall impressive play from Hampton gave them a 2-0 lead heading into half-time.
Charlie Helm, Joe Downham and Thomas Tabor entered the field as the referee blew the whistle to restart the game. Eton went all out in the second half, playing a high press and a very attacking formation. Hampton fought well and managed to form a few attacks especially down the left hand-side via Queen, who really stood out on the field with an electric performance both defensively and going forward.
Eton eventually found a way to get the ball into the back of the net after several attempts including a missed tap-in. A ball swung into the box by Eton turned into a scramble in front of goal after Hampton failed to clear the ball and it was finished off by Eton’s striker who edged the ball past Sam Ellis’ outstretched gloves. For the rest of the game Hampton managed to hold off the onslaught of attacks from Eton and some excellent saves from Ellis managed to protect Hampton’s one goal advantage. As the referee signalled for full time, Hampton came out on top, winning a difficult fixture 2-1.
After the game Mr Mills told the Hampton side, “Well fought today boys, we controlled the play really well in the first-half especially against a strong Eton side. The second half looked more like a battle but well done for holding on to the lead.”