By Joseph Gordon
Hampton U14C team made the long journey to Abingdon School in Oxford, with a small but solid squad.
The U14Cs began with intent, applying pressure to the opposition’s defence. After good play in the midfield, the ball found its way to debutant Dante Patel, who laid the ball off to Hampton’s star, Billy Wilkinson, who produced a brilliant finish from wide into the bottom corner.
A wave of Abingdon attacks followed, with the defensive duo of Alasdair McIntosh and Connor Hendricks stifling them, and another debutant, Pedro Canas Molteni, performing excellent defensively. A couple of saves were also produced by starting goalkeeper Joseph Gordon. However, the game paused for its half-time interval, and Hampton were left unharmed, with a 1-0 lead.
Hampton switched ends and ‘keepers, and were ready for the second half. Both teams tried to get control of the game, and Hampton seemed on top, until a lapse in concentration cost them their clean sheet, with miscommunication between defender and ‘keeper.
With the game levelled up, the momentum was with Abingdon, and not long after their first goal, a pass back from a Hampton defender was picked up by Hampton’s second ‘keeper, giving Abingdon an indirect free kick, which was taken again after the referee called for a retake. The retake ended up in the back of the net.
Close to the end of the game, a darting run from Wilkinson was followed up with an excellent finish from him, at a tight angle. Hampton were filled with the motivation to win the game.
Nonetheless, the U14Cs were all over the place now, and a break in formation cost them late on after an over the top ball was tapped into Hampton’s goal. A late goal from Wilkinson was disallowed because of a foul, leaving the final score as 3-2 to the home side.
As the referee blew the final whistle, Hampton were left frustrated, but also knew that there were ways to improve.