'Outrageous' Rose free kick foundation for late victory
By Rob Overfield
The Beavers stole three points in a game that saw Merstham manager Hayden Bird furious with his players after the game.
In a game that Alan Dowson described as 'poor' after the finish, Merstham controlled most of the first half as the Beavers looked to be lethargic and listless following their exciting draw with Dulwich Hamlet in midweek.
It was the Moatsiders who looked to get the game under control early on, with keeper Seb Brown having to react quickly to block Fabio Saraiva's close range header on 10 minutes as the Beavers defence was slow in reacting.
There was another warning for the hosts as Stefan Cox flashed a shot across goal on 17 minutes and then Tommy Kavanagh's shot from the edge of the box had to be saved at full stretch by Brown to his right some 5 minutes later.
It was clear the Beavers hadn't taken heed of the warnings as on 34 minutes, the Moatsiders took the lead.
Omar Foulkes picked up the ball on the edge of the box, cut inside and slipped the shot past Brown's left hand to see the ball roll inside the post and into the back of the net.
Hampton were reduced to 10 men just before the hour as captain Kieran Murphy was deemed to have prevented a goal-scoring opportunity on the edge of the box, as he chased back to tackle Foulkes, briefly tugging on the striker’s arm, who went down a little easily. Referee Carmichael immediately pulled out the red card and sent Murphy from the field.
This seemed to energise the Beavers as Josh Casey and then Moussa Diarra had chances to equalise but the Merstham defence and in particular, keeper Jack Howard, stood firm and it took the introduction of Jake Rose and Ryan Newman to change the game for the home team.
With just 10 minutes left, Rose changed the game completely with an outrageous finish. Hampton had won a free kick just inside the Merstham half, on the edge of the centre circle; Rose, spotting Howard was off his line and organising the defence, immediately struck a quick free kick. It flew over Howard, leaving the keeper dumbstruck, and into the top corner of the goal, from all of 45 yards, to bring the Beavers back into game.
Merstham found themselves short-handed as well soon afterwards as substitute Aaron Rhule was sent off, following a massed melee that saw at least a dozen players in the far Hampton corner, for what appeared to have been a hack on Michael Kamara.
The Beavers took advantage of the level numbers and with 2 minutes to go, a Kamara throw into the box eventually found Richard Pacquette, whose flicked header beat Howard to give the Beavers the win.
After the game, Alan Dowson said the press “We got out of jail today, we were poor and if I was Hayden Bird, I’d be furious.”
“There were some players out there who thought that since we’ve done well recently, we’re better than what we are. When Rose and Newman came on, they changed the game, and on that, they’ll start next week. I’ve no time for complacency, I only want winners who give it a proper go.”
Hampton & Richmond Borough 2
Jake Rose 80'
Richard Pacquette 88'
Omar Foulkes 34'
Hampton & Richmond
1 Seb Brown, 2 Michael Kamara, 3 Tom Jelley, 4 Kieran Murphy ©, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Harry Taylor (14 Ryan Newman 66), 7 Dean Sinclair (15 Jake Rose 66), 8 Josh Casey, 9 Richard Pacquette, 10 Charlie Moone (18 Eddie Hutchinson 89), 11 Nicke Kabamba.
Subs: 13 Matte Pierson, 14 Ryan Newman, 15 Jake Rose, 16 Herson RODRIGUES ALVES, 18 Eddie Hutchinson.
1 Jack Howard, 2 Michael Abnett, 3 Antone Douglas, 4 Dexter Peters, 5 Tutu Henriques, 6 Kershaney Samuels, 7 Stefan Cox (15 Aaron Rhule 73), 8 Tommy Kavanagh, 9 Omar Foulkes, 10 Fabio Saraiva ©, 11 Reece Hall (14 Tommy Hutchings 87).
Subs: 12 Simon Cooper, 14 Tommy Hutchings, 15 Aaron Rhule, 16 Lewis Gonsalves, 17 Jerald Aboaye