Quarter final comeback victory for First XI against Repton
By Luca Parrish
Hampton’s First XI recorded a dramatic win against Repton in the ISFA Cup quarter final on Wednesday, seeing them progress to the semi finals. The trophy is still very much up for grabs and the manner of the comeback will surely inspire great confidence moving forwards.
The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for Hampton however, with Repton trying to create openings in the half spaces. These were largely rebutted effectively by the Hampton back line, though, and neither team was really able to assert themselves in what was, in truth, a cagey affair early on. It was not dull however, and, as the game began to open up both teams were able to create half chances: you could accuse Hampton of overplaying at times, but the way they countered, playing well vertically, particularly in wide areas, was promising.
Despite this, it was Repton who drew first blood out on the 3G. They managed to keep the ball in very limited room around the edge of the box, before a gap appeared, and the ball was rolled across goal into the bottom left hand corner. It was 2-0 just moments later after Hampton conceded possession under heavy pressure and Repton were able to capitalise via a fine curled finish from just outside the 18 yard box. Hampton’s first half display was not without merit despite the scoreline, which flattered Repton somewhat, and Antonio Polleri and Jonah Blake both put in admirable displays at centre half.
Few watching would have thought Hampton were out of the contest, but after a shift in shape to a back three, Hampton seemed reinvigorated and the game started to be played more in the Repton half. Kyan Soni and Josh Pye played well off the bench, with poise and tenacity, but it was a player who had started the game, Nat Woolaghan, who well and truly lit the touchpaper for the comeback, and after twisting and turning his way elegantly through the box, he found a way to poke home Hampton’s first goal of the game.
Hampton continued to push fruitlessly for some time, with some streetwise play from Repton hindering their progress. In spite of all of Repton’s gamesmanship, an equaliser was eventually scored when the ball found its way across the box from right to left, where it was met by the onrushing figure of Sam Evans, advancing from left wing back, who drove firmly and cleanly into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The equaliser was scored just as time was ebbing away, and Hampton went into the extra time period with a definite confidence. They pushed straight away onto the front foot, clearly the stronger team by this stage of the game. Repton had squandered some good chances too, but Hampton had had by far the better of the game overall, and then finally, in the second period of extra time. It was Woolaghan who once again had popped up with a crucial moment, doubling his own tally for the game, and making it 3-2 Hampton.
Hampton fought their way through the dying moments of the game in front of an ever expanding crowd on the 3G, and recorded a heroic victory. They will face a strong Bradfield side in the semi finals, but after Wednesday, they will feel as though they can take on the world.
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