Back on top as Beavers strike 4
Hampton return to top spot in the Ryman Premier league with a 4-3 win over Leiston that ended closer than it should have been.
New signing Tom Beere was given a start by Alan Dowson and slotted into midfield as the rest of the starting line up was unchanged.
With a strong following wind, the Beavers took control of the game from the start, and it was surprising it took until the 13th minute for the first chance as Kieran Murphy popped up in the box; his shot was blocked and ran for a corner.
5 minutes later, the Beavers took the lead and it had little to do with the wind. Nicke Kabamba chased down a ball into the corner, his cross into the box was met by Moussa Diarra and his firm header beat Blues keeper Ashlee Jones from about 12 yards.
Hampton were creating chances with ease and midway through the half, Jamal Lowe curled a shot at goal that Jones had to dive full length to stop it flying into the top corner.
Hampton's lead was increased just before the half hour as following a good advantage played by the referee, Brendan Kiernan continued his run and slid in a good pass to Lowe. Lowe advanced into the box, and his shot across goal was enough to beat Jones again, the bottom corner the ball's final resting place.
The Beavers were clearly the better side as Leiston found it hard to get forward but after winning a corner, Patrick Brothers had a chance insde the 6 yard box but his prodded shot went well wide.
Given the strength of the wind, Hampton clearly felt they needed another goal to feel comfortable and after Lowe had had a shot blocked in front of goal, he made no mistake just before the break.
Picking up the ball midway into the Leiston half, he rode a couple of challenges to fire a shot across Jones and into the opposite corner from his first goal from the edge of the box.
After the break, Leiston took advantage of the wind, but yet the Beavers kept up their positive play and it still looked like another goal was on the cards.
However, it was the visitors who scored next, Patrick Brothers' corner catching on the wind and deceiving all in the box, including keeper George Legg, who was unable to prevent it going over the goal line.
Leiston couldn't immediately build on the goal, and Hampton were seldom seriously threatened. With some 20 minutes left, Tom Winter managed to get a shot in from the angle of the box, aiming for the top corner to Legg's right, but the young keeper leaped and took the ball, diving and catching in a regulation save.
It was clear Leiston weren't having the same success in possession with the wind that the Beavers had and with just 10 minutes left, Kiernan played a delightful ball through the defence and Nicke Kabamba got there first to clip an instinctive shot past Jones and into the net to restore the 3 goal lead.
With added time a minute old and Hampton looking like easy winners, the Blues won a series of corners. From the far side, Stuart Boardley drifted one in on the wind. Once again, it caused chaos in the Hampton box, as although the corner was blocked on the line, Joe Jefford was on hand to tap it home to bring Leiston within two.
60 seconds later, it was a third for Leiston as Gareth Heath had a turn taking the corner, and despite everything, this too arrowed into the goal. Beating everyone, it boomeranged in on the wind, and a last ditch attempt to clear was just too late and the goal was given.
Leiston were threatening once more as the final whistle went, which was a relief to most. However, most agreed that the scoreline flattered the visitors and without the wind, it should have been a lot easier for Beavers.
After the game, Dowse said "If it hadn't have been for the wind, we wouldn't have conceded any, but Leiston are a good side and they'll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season."
"I've told the boys we've got 15 games to go and if we win most of those, we'll be in a place we didn't really expect at the start of the season."
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 George Legg, 2 Tom Jelley, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Kieran Murphy, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Tom Beere, 7 Jerome Federico, 8 Dean Sinclair (Joe Hicks 58'), 9 Nicke Kabamba, 10 Brendan Kiernan, 11 Jamal Lowe.
Subs: 12 Joe Hicks, 13 Adrian Blake, 14 Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, 15 Charlie Moone, 16 Michael Kamara
Leiston: 1 Ashlee Jones, 2 Blake Saker, 3 Seb Dunbar, 4 Kelsey Trotter (Stuart Boardley 78'), 5 Joe Jefford, 6 Tom Bullard, 7 Jack Ainsley, 8 Gareth Heath, 9 Tom Winter, 15 Jake Taylor, 11 Patrick Brothers
Subs: 12 Daniel Cunningham, 14 Stuart Boardley, 16 Billy Clark, 17 Alex Rossis
Photo (c) Michael Hulf