New dawn - Beavers open preseason with a win
By Rob Overfield
In the rearranged friendly, the Beavers took on Bedfont Sports of the Isthmian South Central and overcame the
Given Saturday's big event, this friendly had been hurriedly re-arranged to Friday night, but to the Beavers, it made little difference.
Gary's first team selection showed the usual mix of signed players and players looking to impress, and the line up started in a positive and adventurous frame of mind.
However, the hosts took the lead on 17 minutes as a long range shot beat Tom Lovelock and rattled down off the bar for the Bedfont number to head home. As there was no VAR, the referee couldn't tell that the ball had already bounced down over the line a la Geoff Hurst 1966.
The Beavers struck back almost immediately on 21 minutes as Casey Maclaren getting on the end of Daniel Uchechi's corner to power a header past the keeper and into the net.
Hampton soon made it two as Brandon Adams took advantage of a weak clearance by the home keeper to fire a powerful shot into the bottom corner from about 15 yards.
Just before the interval, the Beavers scored twice in quick succession. This time, Uchechi's corner was met by Michael Kamara, and his header went under the keeper and into the net.
Then, with seconds left of the half, Nathan Mavila's free kick from some 25 yards was very well struck and flew into the top corner to leave the Beavers 4-1 up.
The second half saw the hosts get a goal back on 56 minutes with a neat turn and shot that Charlie Burns couldn't quite get down to.
However, on the hour, the Beavers restored a three goal cushion, Dan Fitchett making a late run to the back post to head home from close range.
Dan Parish converted a spot kick on 69 minutes, firing low to the keeper's right hand, before wrapping up the night with a smart volley after a quickly taken free kick with about 10 minutes left.
Bedfont Sports 2
Maclaren 21, Adams 24, Kamara 40, Mavila 45
Fitchett 60, Parish 69 (p), 81
First half team
Tom Lovelock, James Hammond, Nathan Mavila, Michael Kamara (c), Rian Bray, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Daniel Uchechi, Casey Maclaren, Brandon Adams, Danny Parish, Shaun Lucien.
Second half team
Charlie Burns, James Hammond (Enock Soganile), Addison Garnett, Hamilton Da-Bunga, Tom Jelley (c), Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, Matty Wichelow, Mano Gogonas, Danny Parish, Dan Fitchett.