Beavers comfortably too good for Farnborough
By Rob Overfield
They're almost there as the Beavers made light work of beating Farnborough and took another huge step towards the title.
Dowse made only two changes, bringing in Eddie Hutchinson in place of Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick to add a bit of steel to the midfield and re-introducing club captain Kieran Murphy to the defence, leaving Joe Hicks back on the bench.
The Beavers took control from the start, playing positive football on a Cherrywood Road pitch that wasn't the best, even at this point in the season. When they didn't have the ball, they harried Farnborough relentlessly, forcing mistake after mistake as they effectively bullied the hosts out of the game.
On 13 minutes, Hampton took the lead as a Tom Beere corner was headed down into space and Eddie Hutchinson reacted quickest to slide the ball home from about 10 yards, scoring the Beavers 100th league goal this season, which given the sentiment at the start of the season, is quite an amazing feat.
Farnborough already looked like they'd rather have been elsewhere as the Beavers just gave them no rest and on 31 minutes, it could easily have been all over. Tom Beere laid on an exquisite pass through the centre of the defence giving Brendan Kiernan a great chance but the Yellows keeper Aaron Bufton spread himself to divert it for a corner.
From the set piece, Kieran Murphy met the ball and headed the ball back into the box. It ricocheted around the 6 yard area, bouncing off the post before Bufton fell on the ball gratefully.
Just 5 minutes later, Farnborough were cut apart again, and the result was a delightful finish by Brendan Kiernan. Nicke Kabamba, who put in what Dowse called after the match "one of Nicke's best performances", flicked on a header towards Kiernan. His instinctive shot, hooked over his shoulder, completely wrong-footed Bufton as it dropped into the back of the net.
The Yellows were now looking like they'd been transported to the game from the O2 Arena's boxing night as they were left chasing the game. The nearest they got as a Freddie Grant free-kick just before the break, which flew over the bar.
Within 90 seconds of the second half restarting, the game was done and dusted and it only seemed a matter of time afterwards before the Beavers really made their advantage count.
A deliciously floated free kick into the box found an unmarked Moussa Diarra lurking and the tall defender finished with some aplomb, a simple half-volley that most strikers would have been more than happy with. 13 goals now for the likeable big man, and who would have forecast that back in August?
Farnborough really tried to get close enough to Mark Smith to make the young keeper work, but they never really did as Murphy and Diarra were rock solid.
With just over 10 minutes to go, the game was jolted back into life as Boro's Jack Smith was sent from the field having been shown a straight red card, for what turned out to be for foul and abusive language, much to everyone's bemusement. It was similar to the way Kieran Murphy was dismissed and it suggests the referees are clamping down on this at the moment.
The excitement was only temporary as the game soon descended back into its previous pattern but there was just time before the whistle for Charlie Moone to come on and set up Jamal Lowe in front of goal, the young midfielder's shot being deflected over the bar.
Hampton go off to Grays Athletic next Saturday, knowing that they might be playing to clinch the Ryman Premier League title, depending on events on the South coast.
Farnborough (0) 0
Hampton & Richmond Borough (2) 3
Eddie Hutchinson 14'
Brendan Kiernan 37'
Moussa Diarra 47'
Farnborough: 1 Aaron Bufton, 2 Dean Joseph-Whittingham (Harry Knight 45'), 3 Freddie Grant, 4 CJ Fearn, 5 Jack Smith, 6 Terrell Forbes, 7 Jack Barton, 8 Charlie Allen (Usman Adeniji 80'), 9 Dennis Oli (Trevor Mutero 63'), 10 Oliver Bailey, 11 Matt Ball
Subs: 12 Usman Adeniji, 14 Harry Knight, 15 Trevor Mutero, 17 Melvin Minter
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Tom Jelley, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Kieran Murphy, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Leon Solomon (Joe Hicks 74'), 7 Eddie Hutchinson, 8 Tom Beere, 9 Nicke Kabamba (Charlie Moone 86'), 10 Brendan Kiernan, 11 Jamal Lowe
Subs: 12 Joe Hicks, 13 Erbil Bozkurt, 14 Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, 15 Charlie Moone, 16 Michael Kamara