All square in the sunshine
By Stefan Rance
Salford City proved a strong test for Beavers ahead of season opener.
Despite Salford's late arrival due to traffic, the match kicked off only 5 minutes late.
Salford put aside their late arrival and attacked early but the Beavers opened the scoring on 19 minutes as a cross from the right found Nicke Kabamba wide open in the box; Kabamba had to twist to get his header in as the cross was marginally behind him, and his apologetic header looped past Marcus Burgess and into the net with Salford feeling there was more than a suspicion of offside.
The Hampton lead lasted 5 minutes as the Ammies were awarded a free kick on the very edge of the box following Ryan Newman's foul, although it looked as though the challenge may just have been inside the Hampton box. Luke Giverin stepped up and drilled the shot through the wall, beating keeper Seb Brown into the left corner of the net.
The game settled into an even contest, with both sides pushing and on 31 minutes, Jerome Federico found himself in space and his shot from a narrow angle was beaten away by Burgess. The Ammies immediately pushed back and Matty Chadwick sent over a great cross, but no one was able to get into the box to connect.
Just before the break, Federico pounced on a loose ball just outside the box; his cross was met by Josh Casey but he couldn't deflect it enough and it drifted wide.
Early in second half, Salford thought they had taken the league as Jordan Hulme netted past Brown, but it was flagged for offside. The Ammies came close again a couple of minutes later as Chadwick could only stab at a Joe Mwsale cross, sending it wide of the post.
Salford continued to press but Hampton nearly snatched the lead on 53 minutes as Kabamba won a header midway in the half, the ball falling to Jerome Federico. Federico scooted towards the box, but the shot was tame and Burgess blocked it.
Just after the hour, Luke Giverin found himself free on the edge of the box, his powerful shot beat Brown but found the side netting.
Josh Casey then came close on 69 minutes as he created some room to fire in a shot that unfortunately drifted wide.
Following the raft of substitutions before 70 minutes, the game petered out with neither keeper troubled, but as the final whistle became imminent, it got a little fractious with Josh Hicks and then Shelton Payne both receiving bookings for rash challenges.
All in all, this was a far more revealing test for the squad, against a Salford team that was mobile, strong and comfortable on the ball. We'll probably find Salford could prove to be stronger than quite a few of the other teams in the Ryman Premier.
Hampton & Richmond Borough (1) 1
Nicke Kabamba 19
Salford City (1) 1
Luke Giverin 24
1 Seb Brown, 2 Michael Kamara (12 James Richmond 63), 3 Tom Jelley, 4 Keiran Murphy ©, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Eddie Hutchinson (14 Joe Hicks 63), 7 Jerome Federico (17 Mike Fondop 75), 8 Ryan Newman, 9 Nicke Kabamba (15 Richard Pacquette 63), 10 Dean Sinclair (16 Dan Thompson 66), 11 Josh Casey.
Subs; 12 James Richmond, 13 Matt Pierson, 14 Joe Hicks, 15 Richard Pacquette, 16 Dan Thompson, 17 Mike Fondop
1 Marcus Burgess, 2 Dom Smalley (14 Cavell Coo 60), 3 Stephen O’Halloran, 4 Gary Stopforth, 5 Steve Howson, 6 Chris Lynch ©, 7 Joe Mwsale (16 Phil Dean 60), 8 Scott Burton, 9 Jordan Hulme (17 Sam Livesey 60), 10 Luke Giverin (15 Shelton Payne 60), 11 Matty Chadwick (20 Gareth Seddon 60).
Subs:14 Cavell Coo, 15 Shelton Payne, 16 Phil Dean, 17 Sam Livesey, 18 Josh Hancock, 19 Michael Itela, 20 Gareth Seddon, GK Craig Dootson