Positive start for Beavers over the U's
By Rob Overfield
At a sun-drenched Beveree, Hampton came from behind to register a solid win over League 1 opponents.
Despite going down to a 3rd minute Dejon Noel-Williams goal, the Beavers scored twice through Zak Joseph and Chris Dickson to beat Oxford Utd.
Hampton were caught out when Noel-Williams took advantage of a deep James Henry cross from the Oxford right to plant a powerful header past Hampton keeper Tom Lovelock.
The Beavers were not finding it easy to drag themselves back into the game and on 20 minutes, Lovelock again had to make a smart save to deny Noel-Williams the chance to double his tally.
This seemed to be the cue for the Beavers to start raising their game; on-trial Chris Dickson made a strong run to the edge of the U's area and his powerful shot forced a smart save for keeper Scott Shearer, but Taurean Roberts' attempt from the rebound was way too high.
Hampton were emboldened by the chance and a couple of minutes later, got their equaliser.
Shaun Lucien's cross field ball from the Hampton left fell perfectly at the feet of Joseph, who cut inside and beat Shearer at the keeper's near post with an accurate finish that had many thinking he'd found the side-netting.
Just before the much-needed half time break, the U's came close to retaking the lead as ex Hampton loanee, Malachi Napa latched onto a clever ball from Samir Carruther just outside the box. His first time shot forced an instinctive save from Lovelock, who was coming out to close down the space.
Hampton made a number of changes at half time, and one of them, Danny Uchechi almost extended the Hampton lead following a quick counter attack, but his shot was wide.
Just before the hour, the Beavers made their possession count with a quality goal that shook the U's. James Hammond's cross from just inside the halfway line was met by Dickson, who'd made a perfectly timed run into the box. The striker's header was exquisitely placed, and Shearer was left with no chance of getting even a finger tip on it.
With 15 minutes left, the visitors looked to have levelled the game through James Henry, but it was immediately ruled out by the referee as Canice Carroll had been climbing all over Rian Bray in his attempts to convert the chance himself.
Just after that, Hampton could have had a third goal as Danny Parish alertly picked up a loose ball out from Shearer, and cut it back to Uchechi on the edge of the area, but the shot went the wrong side of the post.
The Beavers had one last chance in added time as trialist Reece Deakins chased down a ball played into the left hand Oxford channel; cutting inside, his attempt forced a good save by the U's young keeper.
Tom Lovelock, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Nathan Mavila, Josh McUrquhart, Rian Bray, Ricky Wellard, Shaun Lucien, Casey Maclaren, Zak Joseph, Chris Dickson, Taurean Roberts.
James Hammond, Shaq Hippolyte-Patrick, Charlie Burns, Oli Sprague, Danny Parish, Michael Kamara, Michael Corcoran, Tom Jelley, Reece Deakin, Mano Gorgonas, Danny Uchechi.