Beavers Taken to Town by Witham
Despite taking the lead, the Beavers couldn't overcome the early sending off of Saheed Sankoh as Witham took advantage of the 10 men to win.
The Beavers' new signings, Jake Gilbert and Matt Drage, were given a start in the centre in defence but Dowse was forced into an early change up front as Nick Bignell had to be substituted with what looked to be a dead leg after just 11 minutes. Jerome Federico came on and immediately began to cause problems for the home team's full backs.
On 23 minutes, Luke Callender had forced a diving save from Mark Smith but it was the Beavers who opened the lead two minutes later as Tom Collins latched onto a long pass from Jake Rose. He beat the offside trap, and reaching the edge of the box, he slotted the ball confidently under home keeper Martyn Guest.
Just 3 minutes later, the Beavers were dealt a body blow as Saheed Sankoh was dismissed for preventing a goal scoring opportunity with an instinctive handball on the goal line as he blocked an incoming shot.
Although the ball eventually entered the net, the referee chose to rule out the goal and deal with the offence, leaving Jamie Guy to step up and send Mark Smith the wrong way with the spot kick for the equaliser.
The Beavers held on until half time and on what was a very heavy pitch, were happy to do so. The second half opened with Witham pressing and on 55 minutes, they made that pressure tell.
Ellis Brown made a pacey run down the Beavers left, and his fizzing cross found Guy at the back post and it was the easiest task of all for him to side foot the ball past the despairing dive of Smith.
Despite the introduction of James Richmond and Ola Williams for Jake Rose and Tom Collins, the Beavers were still besieged for much of the time, and on 73 minutes, the hosts grabbed their third.
Ben Osman conceded a free kick on the Beavers right, as well as a booking. The cross was only sliced clear; sliced upwards, it fell back into the area, and Kurt Smith hooked it over his shoulder to beat Smith.
Credit to the team, they never quit trying and on 86 minutes, it looked like they'd grabbed a lifeline. A Federico cross from the right found Charlie Moone at the back post, his looping header looked to have beaten Guest, but the keeper got a fingertip on it to slow the attempt down. On a firm pitch, it would have bounced in, but the boggy goalmouth held up the ball, meaning Guest was able to scramble back and swipe the ball clear off the line, with some desperation.
A minute later, the Beavers did get the goal, as Moone celebrated his 200th appearance for the club by converting a Federico cross with a low shot past Guest from close range.
However, there wasn't enough time for Beavers to try and salvage a point, and Witham held on for the win.
Witham Town (1) 3
Jamie Guy 30 (p), 55
Kurt Smith 73
Hampton & Richmond Borough (1) 2
Thomas Collins 25
Charlie Moone 88
Witham Town: 1 Martyn Guest, 2 Connor Mead, 3 Kane Farrell (Ryan Charles 90'), 4 Joshua Banton, 5 James Regis, 6 Lewis Godbold, 7 Ellis Brown, 8 John Watson, 9 Luke Callander (Kurt Smith 69'), 10 Jamie Guy, 11 Tom Wraight
Subs: 12 Kurt Smith, 14 Ryan Blackman, 15 Jack Paxman, 16 Danny Emmanuel, 17 Ryan Charles
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Ben Osman, 3 George Wells, 4 Jake Gilbert, 5 Matt Drage, 6 Saheed Sankoh, 7 Jake Rose (James Richmond 70'), 8 Archie Nkumu, 9 Nick Bignall (Jerome Federico 11'), 10 Charlie Moone, 11 Tom Collins (Ola Williams 70')
Subs: 12 James Richmond, 13 Zaki Oualah, 14 Marcus Johnson-Schuster, 15 Jerome Federico, 16 Ola Williams