Disappointing draw for Beavers
By Phil Weller
Hampton left the Art Deco Harry Abrahams Stadium with a valuable point, but will be ruing the numerous missed chances in a first half that saw them playing their best football of the season on an excellent surface.
The Beavers deservedly took the lead on 7 minutes when Bignall squared the ball for Rose to unleash a powerful low right foot drive from the best part of 35 yards, leaving the keeper scrambling across his line, but unable to prevent the ball flying just inside the left hand post.
A second looked a certainty soon after, when Collins put Bignall clean through. With just an over - committed keeper to beat, his indecision allowed the keeper to close and block his attempt at a shot.
Harris was next to squander a good chance when failing to slip the ball under the keeper from a tight angle, having been put through by a slide rule pass from Osman. Further efforts followed from Bignall and Murphy before a neat passing move down the right, involving Osman, Williams and Harris, set Collins clear down the channel. As the keeper advanced, Collins sent a low shot across the face and saw it nestle just inside the far left post for two - nil around the half hour
At this point you couldn't have got a price on Wingate. Further chances fell to Bignall, firstly heading on to the post from a Murphy cross and then sliding the ball just wide of the near post from a low cross, following an excellent break down the right by Rose and Harris.
Two wayward headers were all Wingate could muster before the half time whistle put them out of their misery.
Unfortunately the second half was a whole different story. Wingate came out firing, whilst the Beavers looked to be playing at half pace.
Gone was the fast flowing football and rapid closing down, as we became pinned deep in our own half.
On the hour, the pressure told as Williams was unluckily pulled up for a wholly accidental clip whilst tracking a wide running forward. The resultant free kick saw the ball nestling in the far corner, having appeared to squirt out between the heads of Murphy and Wingate's Rob Laney. It was attributed as an own goal, but hard to be sure.
Wingate's territorial dominance continued with Knight screwing a shot narrowly across the face of the Hampton goal.
Substitutions followed as Dowse tried to shore things up by replacing the hobbling Harris and Rose with Wanadio and Sankoh.
For Wingate our old friend Stuart Lake, who was having a poor game, was finally replaced by Sogbanmu.
Around this time Hampton had two good chances to kill the game, but squandered them. The first saw Morrison unaccountably leave a headed chance at the far post to a surprised Wanadio, who barely connected on the stretch. The second saw Collins skillfully set up Osman for a fine long range drive, only to hook the ensuing rebound off the keeper well wide with the goal at his mercy.
It was not a complete surprise when Wingate drew level with about 10 minutes left, but the manner of the goal left many Hampton followers seething.
A clever diagonal through ball behind Murphy caused Smith to come rushing off his line as a Wingate forward chased it down.
The next line writes itself. Did the goalie get a hand on it before the striker went flying? Hard to say for sure. The referee didn't think so, but took the advise of the linesman and gave the penalty - which Knight duly buried as Smith went the wrong way.
Smith was furious, but it seems Morrison expressed his views with greater clarity and was dismissed before the restart.
Roberts came on for Nkumu and 10 man Hampton successfully saw out the game for the most disappointing point earned all season.
Wingate & Finchley 2
Murphy (og 57')
Knight (pen 83')
Hampton & Richmond Borough 2
Wingate & Finchley:
Bobby Smith, Weatherstone, Wright, Lake, Kalosci, Rifat, Knight, Tejan-Sie, Laney, Graham, Allen.
Subs: Sogbanmu, Goodman.
Not used: Joseph, Udoh, Nielsen
Mark Smith, Williams, Wells, Morrison, Murphy, Nkumu, Osman, Rose, Harris, Bignall, Collins.
Subs: Sankoh, Wanadio, Roberts.
Not used: Oualah, Federico.