11 games unbeaten now as Beavers beat Chippenham
The Beavers have extended their unbeaten league run to 11 games after a narrow 1-0 victory over Chippenham Town at the Bev this afternoon.
Bradley Hudson-Odoi scored the only goal of the match on the back of an excellent assist by man-of-the-match Malachi Napa.
In a game of few chances, the best ones fell to the home side in a match that they may well have drawn at an earlier stage this season.
The game started in a frantic manor and there was a real edge to it with Chippenham striker David Pratt, who holds the record for the fastest ever red card in a football match after three seconds, involved in most of the action.
The first twenty minutes lacked any real quality as both sides struggled to find their rhythm.
After an early period of Chippenham pressure, Hampton grew into the game and produced the half’s best chance in the 31st minute.
Sweeney’s intervention sparked a quick break and as the ball was fed to Napa, he cut in off the left touchline to feed Max Kretzschmar in the box.
Kretzschmar’s goal-bound shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Taurean Roberts who did well to keep his volley on target but it was well parried by visiting keeper Jared Thompson.
Hampton were denied what looked a decent shout for a penalty just before half time with Hudson-Odoi seemingly tripped in the box. Referee Tom Reeves wasn’t interested and the game remained goalless at the half.
Dowson wasn’t temped to make any changes at the half, despite the presence of fit again Brendan Kiernan on the subs bench.
Credit to Chippenham as they never really let the Beavers settle into any kind of rhythm to get their passing game going but the visitors never really got a foothold in the game.
Their frustration became clear as Dan Bowman was booked just before the hour for telling the referee exactly what he thought of his failure to award a corner.
Napa had looked most likely to open the scoring for the entirety of the match, and came close again in the 60th minute as he went on a jinking run to ride a couple of attempted challenges and managed to open his body up and fire a shot on goal.
Unfortunately the quality of the shot didn't match that of the run and his tame effort was easily saved by Thompson.
Pressure began to build and another chance fell the way of the home side in the 68th minute as a great ball across the box from the right hand side by Roberts was nodded down by Dan Sweeney to Hudson-Odoi. The striker swiped at the ball and had he made any contact whatsoever the ball would surely have been buried in the back of the net.
Unfortunately he missed it completely and manager Dowson responded to this increased frustration by making the change most Beavers fans wanted to see.
Kiernan was introduced for the largely impressive Roberts, and he marked this by immediately becoming involved in the action to set up yet another chance.
He latched onto a great flick-on by Sweeney to fizz a ball into the box to the waiting Max Kretzschmar whose poor touch forced him into an attempted scissor kick which trickled well wide of the goal.
The deadlock was finally broken five minutes later as Hudson-Odoi scored a goal worthy of winning any match.
Kretzschmar picked the ball up deep in his own half and played an excellently weighted ball down the right hand flank for Napa to chase.
So often you see a player take a touch in this situation and it allows the defence to get back and organised, but not today as Napa took the ball in his stride and ghosted past the Chippenham defenders.
Not only did he have the skill to get himself into the situation, but he also had the presence of mind to look up and pick out the arriving Hudson-Odoi with a pin point pass, who thankfully rifled his shot low past the onrushing keeper.
The Beavers saw the game out in an extremely professional manner, with Howes barely tested in the home goal.
I caught up with gaffer Alan Dowson after the match who was pleased with what he saw from his side.
“We’ve always been a pretty side attacking-wise in the last few years so its important when we haven't quite got that going at the moment that we dig out these kind of results and I thought we dug it out very, very well.
“I thought there was only going to be one team that was going to win it, to be honest, but they're not a bad side. They’re very well organised and so to get the result I’m very pleased.”
The win takes the Beavers up to ninth place in the league, just two points off the playoffs, and their unbeaten league run has been stretched to 11 games.
Dowson isn’t getting too carried away but admits that the players are drawing confidence from the side’s excellent run of form.
“It took longer than expected to get us firing this season, but to win four games in a row in the Conference South is not bad but the bottom line is that we’ve got to keep that going.
“It’s got to give them confidence cause they're a good set of lads.
“We’re not getting carried away just like we weren't getting soured down when results weren't going our way.”
The Beavers are in action again on Tuesday night away at Enfield Town in the Middlesex Senior Cup before returning to league action on Saturday against Bognor Regis away from home.
Thanks again to all those that came to support.
Come on you Beavers!
Hampton: Hudson-Odoi (75)
Hampton: Roberts (56)
Chippenham: Bowman (59), Jones (61)
Man of the Match: Malachi Napa
The tricky winger’s touch of class to set up Hudson-Odoi for the opening goal was the real moment of brilliance in an otherwise fairly even match. Apart from that he worked tirelessly tracking midfield runners all afternoon and looked likeliest to make something happen - which he then did. An excellent performance from a young man who looks to be getting better every week.
Referee: Tom Reeves
Assistants: Steven Scott, Tom Fell