By Arun Crowe
After a long, gruelling Wednesday at school, the Hampton U15B team were reinvigorated by the prospect of an ESFA 1st round tie against Coombe Boys’ School. With the sun shining on pitch 2, the match kicked off with Hampton determined to make it through to the next round.
However, they faced an early setback after just three minutes, when a great run by the Coombe winger resulted in a hopeful cross into the box, which was dispatched at the back post.
Despite this, Hampton were undeterred, as for the rest of the half, their domination became apparent. They were able to control possession in the middle of the pitch and move the ball forward efficiently to create shooting opportunities. Finley Milner hit the bar twice with two thunderous strikes, and the keeper was forced into several saves in order to keep his side in the lead going into half-time.
In the second half, the onslaught continued, and it didn’t take long for Hampton to finally get their reward. A lovely sweeping move from the hosts was converted emphatically by Nick Hennebry, and then the floodgates were burst open. Just minutes later, Hennebry found himself in the box once more, courtesy of a long free kick from Yuvraj Sahota. The keeper parried his shot, only for it to be turned in from close distance by Arun Crowe.
Their newfound lead resulted in a subsequent burst of energy and confidence for Hampton, as they withstood a brief Coombe resurgence, only to put the game to bed just minutes later. A training ground routine which the team had been working on just the day prior was brought into life on the pitch, as Hampton worked it down the left swiftly, before it was finished off on the turn by Hennebry, scoring his second in style.
Josh Gaughan added a fourth with a clinical first-time finish, drilled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, before Jasper Bird rubbed salt in the opposition’s wounds. Robert Bercea drove down the right, leaving three defenders in his wake and then firing a shot towards the far corner. The keeper once more could only parry it out to Bird, who was on hand to smash it home from close range for Hampton’s fifth of the day.
Their emphatic victory sets up a tantalising second round tie against a very strong Windsor Boys side on the 7th November after half term.