'Great result' says Dowse as Beavers go into Promotion final
Beavers now 90 minutes from the National League after tough semi-final victory
The Beavers withstood early first half pressure to overcome promotion rivals Chelmsford City by a goal to nil, thanks to midfielder and leading scorer Max Kretzschmar’s 54th minute penalty after the Clarets’ Jazzi Barnum-Bobb was dismissed for a handball on the goal line.
After the match, manager Alan Dowson was a happy man, “It’s a great result for this little village club, to be just 90 minutes from the National League."
The home side had the first chance on 7 minutes as Scott Fenwick’s header beat Beavers keeper Seny Dieng but clipped the crossbar and went over.
60 seconds later, Chris Dickson tried to lob Dieng, who was a little out of position but Dickson put a little too much height on the attempt and the keeper was able to get back and tip it over the bar.
Soon after, Anthony Church rattled the Hampton crossbar with a firm header from Kubus Oyanuga’s corner as the home side put the Beavers on the back foot.
Hampton managed to get to grips with the Clarets from then on and neutralised most of their attacking efforts, but 10 minutes before half time, the Beavers had to thank firstly Jack Cook as his challenge stopped Oyenuga from breaking through; then further last ditch tackles from Charlie Wassmer and Josh Casey soon afterwards prevented Chelmsford from peppering the Hampton goal.
Another clear chance came the way of the Clarets just before the break, as Fenwick blazed his shot from Barnum-Bobb’s cross well over the bar.
The Beavers had struggled to put a shot on target in the first half as the Chelmsford defence was solid but in the second, there were signs that the team were coming to life as Brendan Kiernan forced a good save from the Clarets keeper Jake Jessup almost immediately upon the restart.
Hampton started to win some corners and on 54th minute, one turned the game on its head.
Casey’s corner into the box wasn’t cleared by the Clarets, and as Hampton tried to force it past Jessop, the shot was saved right on the goal-line by the hands of defender Barnum-Bobb.
Referee Josh Smith had no alternative but to show the defender the red card and award the Beavers the penalty; Kretzschmar then stepped up and rifled the kick past Jessop’s right hand as the home side were handed a mountain to climb.
Word started to filter through of events at Dartford as Hampton then proceeded to control the game and effectively hold Chelmsford at bay. So effective was this, there were few goalmouth incidents to note in the last half hour, save in the final few moments when Hampton had to put bodies on the line after Dieng had lost the ball in the air.
The Clarets fired in three or four good shots in a frantic melee but they were all blocked by resolute red & blue shirts as the Beavers were in no mood to give up what they had, and after 4 minutes of added time, the massed Hampton fans could celebrate.
After the match, Dowson admitted the first half display wasn't good enough.
"We were poor in that first half, I don't think we really competed but in the second half, the team worked themselves in the ground and the supporters helped get them over the line."
"Once we got the penalty, I felt the result was never in doubt."
However, he admitted scorer Max Kretzschmar might not have taken the penalty. "I was going to take him off but then we got the penalty, so I was glad I didn't! He's been excellent for us this season.”
Photo (c) Ben Harrison-Hyde