It's Hampton's title in tense finale
By Rob Overfield
In front of over 2,300 fans - the biggest crowd since the last Conference South playoff final - the Beavers held on for the point they needed.
In front of over 2,300 fans - the biggest crowd since the last Conference South playoff final - the Beavers held on for the point they needed to clinch the title in a tense finale to the season.
Both teams had something to play for, Enfield the chance of the playoffs, and the Beavers, just a small matter of the title.
The demands of the day were clearly affecting the players as it was a scrappy opening but the Beavers had the best of the opening 10 minutes as Moussa Diarra came closest to breaking the deadlock as his header from a Josh Casey cross was straight at Enfield keeper Nathan McDonald.
Enfield needed to make a quick response to peg back the Beavers and they soon did so but Harry Ottaway's volley was too high and flew over the bar.
The best chance of the first half fell to Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, who broke into the box through the defence and forced keeper McDonald to block him off, the ball running clear amidst shouts from the crowd for a penalty.
Hampton were starting to make some chances now and Brendan Kiernan brought a smart save out of McDonald with 5 minutes to go to half time.
After the interval, Enfield had clearly heard of the score in the Needham Market - Dulwich Hamlet game and came out with greater purpose, knowing that one goal would change the day.
Corey Whiteley had a great chance soon after the restart but he couldn't keep his shot down and it cleared the bar, albeit from a tight angle.
Hampton were definitely under pressure and on the hour, Mark Smith had to be alert to throw himself to his left to push out Bobby Devyne's goal bound shot.
3 minutes later, it was Smith again to the Beavers rescue as Mickey Parcell's volley looked to be arrowing into the top corner, Smith's touch taking it wide for a corner.
Hampton then knuckled down to the task in hand and Jamal Lowe's shot from the edge of the box was only just wide of the post.
Throughout the crowd, the score from Nyewood Lane was filtering through to all corners. When word of the 4th goal went in, the tension ramped up several notches, as both sides knew one goal could still make or break either team's day.
Both sides were counting down the seconds and the introduction of Joe Hicks signalled that Dowse's 'what we have, we keep' tactic was in force. Only Tyler Campbell's shot with 5 minutes to go, which blazed wide, was the closest the Towners got to snatching the day from Dowse's boys.
On the final whistle, the multitude of red and blue in the ground erupted with joy as they knew the score at the Bognor - Hendon game was now irrelevant, and the title was theirs!
Hampton & Richmond (0) 0
Enfield Town (0) 0
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Tom Jelley, 3 Josh Casey, 4 Kieran Murphy, 5 Moussa Diarra, 6 Leon Solomon, 7 Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick (Joe Hicks 82'), 8 Tom Beere, 9 Nicke Kabamba, 10 Brendan Kiernan, 11 Jamal Lowe
Subs: 12 Eddie Hutchinson, 13 Martin Brennan, 14 Joe Hicks, 15 Charlie Moone, 16 Jerome Federico
Enfield Town: 1 Nathan McDonald, 2 Mickey Parcell, 3 Harold Joseph, 4 Claudiu Vilcu, 5 Mark Kirby, 6 Nathan Livings (Bradley Quinton 77'), 7 Samir Bihmoutine (Tyler Campbell 66'), 8 Billy Crook, 9 Bobby Devyne, 10 Harry Ottaway (Dernell Wynter 74'), 11 Corey Whitely
Subs: 12 Jordan Lockie, 14 Ricky Gabriel, 15 Dernell Wynter, 16 Tyler Campbell, 17 Bradley Quinton