A draw poor reward for Beavers effort
By Rob Overfield
Dowse proclaims second half performance as 'best I've seen in my time at the club - but we should've won!'
Hampton came away from Stonebridge Road with a point, but many observers thought that a win would have been deserved at the Beavers dominated a timid Ebbsfleet side throughout the whole second half.
The Beavers got off to a bad start in the 4th minute as Michael Kamara and Bradley Bubb chased a long ball over the top; keeper Billy Bishop came out to kick the ball clear the ball into the half-built new stand. The well struck kick struck Bubb as the two Hampton players collided, the ricochet falling nicely for the striker and he kept his nerve to slide the ball into the net.
The home team took heart from the unexpected goal and put the Beavers under some pressure; on 21 minute, Bubb again had a chance, but Bishop was ready and deflected it away for a squandered Fleet corner.
Hampton finally started getting back into the game as Brendan Kiernan and then Harold Odametey both had attempts on goal, but neither bothered the keeper.
5 minutes before the break, Ebbsfleet nearly got on goal once more, but a well timed Odametey tackle sent the ball out of play a fraction before the shot came in.
For all their domination, Ebbsfleet didn't really make use of it and with seconds to go before half time, the Beavers served notice of their intention as a bout of pinball in the Fleet box saw three chances in very quick succession. Keeper Nathan Ashmore blocked Jack Taylor's low cross into the box but the ball ran free into a crowd of players. Brendan Kiernan's shot then hit the post and following up, Nicke Kabamba's attempt was agonisingly wide.
As soon as the second half kicked off, there was only one team in the game and it wasn't the home team. Hampton were clearing intent on making a statement and the home defence had to battle hard to keep the Beavers out.
On 50 minutes, Jamal Lowe danced into the box, but his shot wasn't on target and flew over the goal, terraces and into the car park. A couple of minutes later, he went on a mazy run into the box that ended with a shot deflected for a corner.
The Beavers were winning nearly every loose ball; Taylor, Odamatey and Kiernan were enjoying life in the centre of a midfield that looked better value than the host's expensive side.
Just beore the hour, Christian Jolley muscled his way into the box, the shot forcing Ashmore to dive to his left and get a hand on it to divert it wide.
The Fleet had barely been in the Hampton half in this time, and a few minutes after Christian Jolley's attempt, they finally got into the Hampton area, but Sam Deering's shot was right at Bishop who punched the ball away.
Despite 5 minutes treatment to a nasty cut on Josh Casey's head, the Hampton defence looked comfortable against a Fleet attack that looked well out of sorts, and it didn't take long for the next assault on Ashmore's goal to develop.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Taylor once more fired in a low drive, this time the Fleet keeper blocked it with an outstretched boot to deny the midfielder his first Hampton goal.
Ebbsfleet were resorting to 10 men around the area at times, such was the threat posed by the Beavers as they came forward time after time.
With just 5 minutes to go, Brendan Kiernan's 20 yard strike just clipped the bar as it went over and it was starting to look like a fruitless night for Hampton, who had practically owned the second half.
On 88 minutes, the Beavers won a free kick just outside the area after Phillips was booked for a shirt pull on a Hampton player. The free kick was cleared out to Lowe on the left hand side of the area; he cut inside the defender, and resisting the temptation to lash the ball through the net, proceeded to clip a delightful finish aross Ashmore and into the corner of the net to get the Beavers level.
Into the second minute of added time, the Beavers could so easily have snatched all three points as Jolley found himself with a sight of goal but he chose to attempt a volley, which to Ashmore's relief, went over the bar.
Speaking after the game, Dowse was full of praise for the team. That was the the best performance I've had during the two years I've been with the club, seriously! The way we played in that second half, we should've won tonight with the chances we had.