Beavers' unbeaten run continues in fine home win over St Albans
Charlie Wassmer’s first half header proved enough as the Beavers secured an impressive victory over third placed St Albans at Beveree stadium on Tuesday night.
St Albans ended the match with ten men as centre-half Harold Joseph was sent off for a second booking in injury time.
An impressive defensive performance for the full 90 minutes ensured that Hampton have now extended their unbeaten league run to nine games.
There was one change for the Beavers from their 3-1 away win at Whitehawk on Saturday, as Taurean Roberts came in for Brendan Kiernan.
The first half started fairly evenly with neither team really asserting their dominance on proceedings.
The Beavers’ midfield was sloppy with its passing and this stopped them replicating the weekend’s fluidity and connecting with the front three. This wasn’t helped as Christian Jolley - goalscorer on Saturday - was forced off in the 20th minute and replaced by Shaun McAuley.
Wassmer nearly gifted St Albans the opener shortly before Jolley’s withdrawal.
He allowed the ball to bounce before attempting an audacious header back to Sam Howes, the home keeper. Howes was caught unaware and fumbled before regathering the ball with the St Albans attackers baring down.
Wassmer made up for his earlier lapse in judgement in the 30th minute as he bagged the game’s only goal.
A dubious corner was awarded, much to the annoyance of the travelling fans, and from it Kretzschmar floated his cross to the near post for Wassmer to rise highest and power a header past visiting keeper Dean Snedker.
The goal was certainly against the run of play as St Albans had begun to take the ascendency in the match.
The Saints responded well to going behind and had an excellent chance to equalise. Some excellent hold up play from centre forward Nathaniel Pinney, playing in the unusual number five shirt, allowed him to play a one-two with Rhys Murrell-Wiliamson and flash a shot into the side netting.
After the half, the game gained a real edge with meaty challenges flying in from both sides.
The first chance of the second half fell to Taurean Roberts, whose good turn and drive into the box allowed him to get a shot away but it was too weak and didn’t trouble the keeper.
Kretzschmar had the half’s best chance in the 54th minute as an innocuous long ball forward caught the St Albans defence unawares and his tame effort was blocked from eight yards out.
The real story of the half was the incredible defensive effort from all eleven players. Carrying on from their efforts against the wind in the second half on Saturday, they were pinned back by the visitors for long periods.
Such was the quality of the defending that St Albans were forced into taking largely wasteful long shots and their frustration began to tell as both Harold Joseph and captain David Noble were booked for dissent.
Noble was replaced minutes later after a number of fouls committed left him walking a very fine line with the referee.
St Albans finished the game with ten men anyway as Joseph received a second yellow for a dangerous challenge in injury time. The lively Harry Crawford, who replaced Bradley Hudson-Odoi in the 75th minute, was the man felled.
Crawford’s hold up play and energy levels helped ensure that the Saints could never really play out from the back meaning they had to go long for the majority of the closing stages, which the tireless home defence dealt with fairly comfortably.
Five minutes of injury time ended up being more than seven as St Albans threw all they had at the Hampton rearguard, even sending the goalie up for a free-kick in the final minute of the match but the Beavers held firm.
Impressive today was effervescent Max Kretzschmar in the number ten role, who was magnificent with the ball at his feet. Also catching the eye were young winger Malachi Napa, who put in a barrel load of defensive work down the left hand side, and Dan Sweeney who controlled the tempo of the game well with his clever passing.
Man-of-the-match goes to the impressive Charlie Wassmer who’s goal separated the sides. Despite his goal it was his defensive work that ensured the Beavers walked away with all three points as he headed, blocked and cleared all night long.
A very good result for the home side tonight, who shoot up the table again to the lofty heights of 12th, a mere six points way from the play-offs.
This victory also increases the Beavers’ unbeaten run in the league to an incredible nine games. Here’s hoping it continues next Saturday as we welcome Bath City, just one place above us in the league.
See you there, and come on you Beavers!
Hampton - Wassmer (30)
Yellow - Howes (65), Crawford (91)
Red - 0
Yellow - Noble (58), Joseph (64)
Red - Joseph (92)