By Thomas Scrimshaw
Hampton’s U14 A-team resumed their 2023-24 Elgin League campaign away against Eton School on Saturday afternoon. The team was looking to pick up another win in their excellent start to the new season under new coach, Mr. Harry Hooper. After a tough 2-2 draw with Forest School before the October break, Hampton was looking to get back to their usual winning ways.
Hampton kicked off the first half confidently, dominating possession and passing the ball around their back line, looking to tire the opposition early on. Due to the heavy rain the day before, the condition of the pitch provided Hampton with an unwanted extra challenge. However, after several attempts on goal, which lacked the all-important final finish, Hampton started to pick up the pace of the game. After 10 minutes of play, Hampton had enjoyed the majority of the possession, but nothing separated the two sides as of yet. As Hampton pressed, the ball was intercepted in midfield and played through the lines out wide to Ben Whitely. With only a few touches needed, Whitely expertly floated the ball back into the box where Oliver Khaksar sprung from the traps and finished to give Hampton a deserved lead. Inspired by this moment, Hampton now had the momentum and pushed on, resulting in Myan Mallipeddi setting Rufus Lawson through on goal to give Hampton a 2-0 lead. Not long before the break, Hampton showed no signs of slowing their display and won a free kick deep in the Eton half after a foul in midfield. With the taller members of the team venturing forward to attack the free kick, the ball was swung into the box by Myan Mallipeddi and onto the head of Tom Scrimshaw, who guided the ball into the back of the net to give Hampton a third. With only seconds left in the first half, Eton had their chance to attack from a corner, and a slip at the back from Hampton gifted Eton their first goal of the game.
Half Time: 3-1
First half Goalscorers: Oliver Khaksar, Rufus Lawson, Tom Scrimshaw
First-half Assists: Ben Whitely, Myan Mallipeddi (2)
Hampton came out for the second half with all guns blazing. For the first ten minutes of the half, neither team had many chances to score until an opportunity cropped up for Eton. A moment of miscommunication at the back for Hampton allowed Eton’s striker to burst through on goal and slot the ball into the net, reducing the scoreline to 3-2. After Hampton’s back four battled hard to regain the ball, play was switched out to Ben Whitely on the left wing, who controlled the ball calmly before chipping it over the Eton defenders to put Scrimshaw through on goal. After a neat skill to take the ball past the Eton goalkeeper, Scrimshaw blasted the ball into the empty net to regain Hampton’s two-goal lead and secure his second of the game. Now with a comfortable lead again, Hampton looked to retain possession while also seeking opportunities to add to their goal tally. After a few meaningful attacks by Eton, the opposition started to regain their energy and pushed forward into Hampton territory. A blunder in midfield allowed Eton to regain possession, and their striker was set through on goal before finishing and once again reducing the scoreline to a single goal. However, this failed to unsettle the Hampton team as they responded with a counterattack that resulted in Oliver Khaksar gathering the ball in the penalty area and finishing brilliantly into the top corner to make it 5-3. In response to the Hampton goal, Eton showed a shift in mentality that resulted in another ball being played through the Hampton defence to their nimble winger who made it 5-4. This provided a tense finish to the game as Hampton clung to their one-goal lead and Eton threw everything forward to equalize. Unfortunately for Hampton, Eton’s opportunity came in the dying seconds as a well-crafted move resulted in Eton scoring another to square the game late on. After the game had concluded, Hampton held their heads high knowing that they had put in a brilliant performance despite drawing the game and showed their appreciation to the parents for playing a crucial role in their unwavering support on the sidelines. However, the focus would soon turn to a crunch clash with Royal Russel School on the weekend.
Full Time: 5-5
Second half Goalscorers: Tom Scrimshaw, Oliver Khaksar
Second half Assist: Ben Whitely