Beavers win Boxing Day derby in the final furlong
by Paul Barker
Brendan Kiernan celebrated signing a permanent deal with Hampton & Richmond Borough, by heading the winning goal from close range.
A bumper holiday crowd of over 600 turned up to see the home side extend their winning streak to 5 matches and remain level on points at the top of the table with Dulwich Hamlet.
With both teams needing points for different reasons, it was no surprise that the opening few minutes were quite cagey. In keeping with the last few weeks, the teams had to deal with tricky windy conditions. Despite the home side having the elements in their favour for the 1st half, it was the visitors who had the first shot at goal, when returning Beaver, Brewer, tried his luck from 30 yards. George Legg, who was making his debut in goal, was able to gather comfortably.
This made the Beavers wake up and they then spent most of the first half in their opponents territory. Staines were having trouble coping with the pace of Federico and Lowe on the flanks, and the trickery of Kiernan in midfield. Nicke Kabamba was also giving the Staines centre backs, Gough and O'Cearuill, a torrid time, so it was no surprise when Hampton and Richmond eventually took the lead on 23 minutes.
Jerome Federico sprinted past helpless left back, Bennett. He then cut inside and unleashed a low, right foot drive from the edge of the area. The ball flashed across 'keeper Turner and nestled in the bottom corner.
The host continued to create chances, with Kiernan, Kabamba and Diarra all going close. An effort from Jelley from 30 yards was not so near the target. Despite almost constant pressure from the home side, debutant Legg was called into action to make a couple of fine stops.
With half time fast approaching, and the Beavers still only 1 goal to the good, Dean Sinclair was offered the opportunity to double the lead from the spot. Nicke Kabamba, was bundled over inside the area by Gough as he came charging into the area.. Sinclair's kick was on target, but lacked sufficient power to beat Turner, who dived smartly to his right to save.
Most of the half time chatter was about whether Hampton & Richmond would rue their missed opportunities, especially as Staines now had the wind at their backs. This questioned , soon appeared to answered, when 2 minutes after the restart Kiernan picked up the ball in midfield and with a perfectly timed pass sent Jamal Lowe through on goal. Lowe latched onto the ball and made no mistake, with a left footed strike from just inside the box.
The home side continued to dominate, without adding to their 2 goal lead. Midway through the 2nd period The Swans pulled a goal back, when another former Hampton old boy, Wanadio, got the better of Jelley to steer the ball into the far corner of the net. The visitors were buoyed by this and the home defence started to look a bit shakey.
The equaliser came on 78 minutes when substitute Kalu coolly slotted home following some rather comical defending, by Casey & Diarra. Most of the Boxing Day crowd were stunned into silence, but parity only last 2 minutes. The Beavers gained a corner on the left flank, which was delivered by Sinclair. Hutchinson got a flick on and Brendan Kiernan was on hand to supply the final touch.
The final whistle was greeted with great enthusiasm by the home support. Another 3 point had been gained to keep the Beavers in 2nd place on goal difference, but the result was much closer than it should off been. This game was great entertainment for the biggest crowd of the season.
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 George Legg, 2 Tom Jelley, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Kieran Murphy, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Dean Sinclair (Joe Hicks 87'), 7 Jerome Federico, 8 Eddie Hutchinson, 9 Nicke Kabamba, 10 Brendan Kiernan, 11 Jamal Lowe
Subs: 12 Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, 14 Joe Hicks, 15 Michael Kamara, 16 Richard Pacquette, 17 Liam Beach
Staines Town: 1 Jack Turner, 2 Erivaldo Felix, 3 Jack Bennett, 4 Tommy Brewer, 5 Mitchal Gough (Michael Kinsella 61'), 6 Joe O'Cearuill, 7 Luke Wanadio, 8 Ahmed Abdulla, 9 Pat Cox, 10 Jack Hutchinson (Michael Kalu 58'), 11 Fumnaya Shomotun
Subs: 12 Callum McAllister, 13 Harry Churchill, 14 Michael Kalu, 15 Michael Kinsella, 16 Terence Vancooten
Photo (c) Neil Hood