Beavers rescue last gasp draw at Chippenham
A dramatic last minute header from debutant Shaun Jeffers salvaged a point for Hampton in an eventful game at Hardenhuish Park.
James Guthrie’s 24th minute goal straight from a corner had opened the scoring, before a second-half Max Kretzschmar double put the Beavers ahead.
Alex Ferguson equalised from another corner before Kretzschmar fouled Dan Bowman to give Andy Sandell the chance to put the Bluebirds back in front from the spot.
Hampton had the last word and deep into stoppage time Shaun Jeffers headed home a Kretzschmar corner in what proved to be the final kick of the match.
The Beavers now slip to third place after Dartford’s come from behind victory at Wealdstone.
The first half lacked any real quality and the opening goal came in the most fortunate of circumstances.
James Guthrie’s dangerous ball into the box evaded everyone including goalkeeper Will Henry and ended up in the back of the Hampton net.
The boys struggled for any real fluency in the first half but probably had the better of the play before the goal. New signings James Mulley and Shaun Jeffers looked initially lively but lacked the cohesion with the rest of the side that only comes from playing games together.
Brendan Kiernan looked the most likely in a Hampton shirt to make something happen, and he had our best chance of the half.
A whipped cross came from the left from Jeffers in the 45th minute and Kiernan did well to get his head to it, but his goal-bound header was deflected wide of the left hand post.
Dowse won’t have been happy with the first half performance and there was a distinct improvement after the break.
The Beavers should have been awarded a penalty in the 51st minute after Kiernan danced his way past a couple of Chippenham defenders on the left hand side of the box, darted into the area and seemed to be brought down.
The referee disagreed and cautioned the winger for simulation, but after the match even the Chippenham boss admitted it was a penalty. That was just one of a fair few dubious decisions made by the officials that left both benches disgruntled at full time.
The equaliser came on the hour mark as Kretzschmar profited from some poor goalkeeping by Chippenham stopper Jared Thompson. A great ball from the left from Josh Casey looked to have been cut out by the keeper, only for Jeffers to nip in and deflect the ball into Kretzschmar’s path.
Our free scoring number ten applied the simplest of finishes and that goal galvanised the side.
Kretzschmar added a second seven minutes later - a much trickier finish this time - as a ball into the box from Ben Wynter down the right hand side saw him strike the ball first time low across the goalkeeper from eight yards into the bottom right corner.
We had finally wrestled a lead and looked good money to go and seal the victory - we were even top of the league at this stage as Dartford were being held at Wealdstone.
Unfortunately another corner into the box proved disastrous as yet again no Hampton player took responsibility to clear the danger. The ball fired around the six yard box and an incredible reaction save from Will Henry kept it out momentarily only for the rebound to drop to Alex Ferguson who couldn’t, and didn’t, miss from three yards.
Still Hampton looked to be on top and pressed forward for the winner, only to be sucker punched at the other end.
Dan Bowman burst into the box and was bundled over in the 84th minute by goalscorer Kretzschmar in what looked an obvious decision. Substitute Andy Sandell took the spot kick and Henry so nearly kept it out, diving low to his left and getting a hand on the kick, which nestled in the bottom corner regardless.
The wind had well and truly been knocked out of the Hampton sails, and it could so easily have been 4-2 to the hosts.
Sandell and Jack Cook jostled for a long ball and Sandell outmuscled the defender to go one on one with Henry. The keeper was quick off his line and got to the ball first but his clearance took a wicked deflection off the striker and stayed in play.
Sandell took a second to locate the ball and this allowed Henry to scramble back and complete an excellent double save that kept the Beavers in the match ands set up the dramatic finale.
Good work from Brendan Kiernan in the 94th minute won a corner and from Kretzschmar’s delivery Jeffers rose highest to nod the ball past the keeper and spark wild celebrations on the pitch - with even Hampton keeper Henry joining in as he had ventured forward for the set piece.
The corner was well after the fourth additional minute of added on time, and the Bluebird supporters were well within their rights to feel very aggrieved at the officials.
Jubilation turned to frustration as the final whistle blew as everyone recognised that this was an opportunity missed to claim all three points.
Two points against two sides in the bottom four isn’t title winning form but Dowse will be encouraged by the heart that his side showed to net the equaliser so late in the game.
Chippenham: Guthrie (24); Ferguson (70); Sandell Pen (84)
HRBFC: Kretzschmar (60, 67); Jeffers (90+5)
Chippenham: Bowman (94)
HRBFC: Kiernan (51)
Man of the Match: Honourable mentions for Brendan Kiernan, who looked lively all afternoon and was denied what seemed to be a straightforward penalty, and debutant goalscorer Shaun Jeffers but the best player on the park by some distance was Max Kretzschmar. Two goals and an assist for Max today, and the question has to be asked - where would we be without his goals? He’s had better games in a Hampton shirt but it was his intervention that got us back in the game and with some better defending would surely have seen us clinch all three points.
1. Jared Thompson
2. Dan Bowman
3. Curtis McDonald
5. Greg Tindle (c)
8. Matt Smith
9. Jake Jackson
11. James Guthrie
14. Darren Mullings
15. Dean Evans (off 65 for Ferguson)
16. Scott Twine
17. Said Mohamed (off 69 for Sandell)
4. Michael Jones
6. Will Richards
7. Alex Ferguson (on 65 for Evans)
10. Andy Sandell (on 69 for Mohamed)
19. Josh Smile
1. Will Henry
2. Ben Winter
3. Josh Casey (c)
4. Jack Cook
5. Sam Long
6. Shaun McAuley
7. Brendan Kiernan
8. Shandon Baptiste
9. Shaun Jeffers
10. Max Kretzschmar
11. James Mulley (off for Charles 81)
12. Leon Solomon
GK. Luke Sheldrick
14. Michael Kamara
15. Elliott Charles (on for Mulley 81)
17. Harry Crawford
Match report by Matt Horsman