By Tom Scrimshaw
Hampton’s U14 A-team kicked off their 2023-24 season at home against Glyn School on Saturday. With the sun beating down on the 3G, Hampton were certainly fired up for the occasion and with new members of the team playing their first games for the school, everyone was looking to impress at the first opportunity.
Hampton began the first half confidently, dominating possession and passing the ball around their back line, looking to tire the opposition early on. However, after a handful of unsuccessful attempts on goal, their focus started to drop off. After 20 minutes of play, both sides had enjoyed their respective spells of positivity, and nothing stood between them. Hampton were creating lots of chances through the midfield, but never really looked like scoring, and kept giving the ball away freely. After a chance that came from an interception in midfield, Noah RDM gathered the ball on the edge of the box, looked up, and expertly slotted the ball through Glyn’s defence to Ned Leonard who nutmegged the keeper to put Hampton in front.
Now that Hampton had the advantage, their confidence went through the roof. With only a few minutes left before the break, the focus turned to keeping the lead. However, Glyn pushed to the whistle to equalise the game and eventually their chance came from a corner which was bundled in from six yards to square the game.
First half Goalscorer(s): Ned Leonard
First half Assist(s): Noah RDM
Hampton started the second half well, looking to score more themselves whilst also keeping a strong defensive shape. For the first ten minutes of the half, neither team had many chances to score until an opportunity cropped up for Hampton. After Hampton’s back four battled hard to regain the ball, the ball was played out to Noah RDM on the wing, and he then played a ball through the lines to Oliver Khaksar. With only a few touches needed, Khaksar fired the ball past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner to give Hampton the lead once again.
However, Hampton knew that the game was not over. Glyn School were not finished yet, showing a change in mindset that resulted in them challenging the Hampton defence. After several attacks that paid little in way of meaningful returns, the opposition got their chance late on in the game, as their striker burst into the box only to be brought down by a Hampton midfielder. After appeals from the Glyn players, a penalty was given much to the discontent of the Hampton players and supporters. After a powerful run-up, Glyn’s penalty taker placed the ball past the onlooking keeper into the back of the net, giving Glyn a late equaliser.
In the dying seconds, Hampton showed their determination to go for the win and after a few excruciatingly close chances for the team, Hampton had to settle for a draw and the take the point. However, after the final whistle, Hampton held their heads high, knowing that they had put in an excellent shift in the first game of the new season in a freshly-gelling team with great sideline support from the parents and expert management by Mr Harry Hooper.
Full Time: 2-2
Second half Goalscorer(s): Oliver Khaksar
Second half assist(s): Noah RDM