Nine in a row for high flying Beavers
A late Max Kretzschmar penalty gave Hampton all three points in a feisty affair against Weston-super-Mare in the Vanarama National League South.
The Beavers went behind inside five minutes after a lovely strike from Weston skipper Dayle Grubb, before Charlie Wassmer equalised six minutes later.
The game was pretty even for most of the second half before Kretzschmar converted a penalty he won himself with ten minutes left.
Hampton clung on in the closing stages to rise to third in the table, extending their unbeaten league run to 14 games and winning their ninth on the trot in all competitions.
A testy affair down in Weston was set in motion after Shaun McAuley’s strong challenge in the fourth minute.
It was a risky challenge as the midfielder left the ground and he was lucky not to be booked.
The Beavers didn’t get off to a great start as they found themselves a goal behind inside five minutes.
Grubb was allowed to pick the ball up in between the midfield and defence and drive at the Beavers’ back line.
His shot was low and hard to Sam Howes’ right and eventually nestled in the bottom corner. A fine strike but sloppy from a Hampton perspective.
However, we didn’t get ourselves into this fine run of form by crumbling under pressure though, and six minutes later we were back on level terms.
After a corner was punched clear to Taurean Roberts, the tricky winger manoeuvred into some space down the left wing and floated a tempting cross that home keeper Luke Purnell came for but could not collect.
Wassmer was on hand to nod home from three yards out and bring the Beavers back into the game.
As the half progressed the game was an even affair, with a lot of niggle and plenty abuse directed towards the officials from the home fans.
Towards the end of the first half it was Hampton that had the better of the chances.
First was a correctly disallowed goal in the 27th minute as Brendan Kiernan headed in from an offside position to finish off a Kretzschmar free-kick.
The best chance of the half fell to captain Josh Casey as he beat two defenders on a jinking run before letting fly with a rasping left footed shot. The shot took a wicked deflection and missed the onrushing Kretzschmar by inches to roll out for a corner.
The second half produced more of the same as both sides created half chances and defended resolutely.
In the 69th minute McAuley broke from a corner to travel 40 yards and release Kiernan one on one with the keeper. Purnell was out quickly to smother the shot and the chance went begging.
The breakthrough eventually came as Kretzschmar was brought down in the box in the 79th minute. He dusted himself off and smashed the penalty high into the goal and was mobbed by his teammates as the Beavers led for the first time in the match.
Leon Solomon was introduced for Adam Coombes as Dowse tried to shore up his defence, putting Kretzschmar out right, Kiernan up front and Solomon in as a defensive anchor man.
Weston came back very strongly in the final ten minutes, and credit to them for that, but the Hampton defence held firm.
As the clock showed 94 minutes, Hampton hearts were in their mouths as a mix up in communication between the excellent Sam Howes and the equally excellent Wassmer lead to the centre back heading over his own goalie.
Celebrations had already begun in the home end as the header looked destined for goal, only for it to divert onto the post and to the relative safety of a corner.
The celebrations were wild on the final whistle as Dowse got his players together in a huddle to ram home the importance of this win. At least I think that’s what he said - I can’t really understand him at the best of times.
Impressive as ever were Sam Howes, Charlie Wassmer and Jack Cook and a special mention should go to both Kiernan and Taurean Roberts who we all know are brilliant going forward but what impressed me today was their excellent defensive performances.
After the match I dragged Charlie Wassmer away from the celebrations to talk about the victory
“I think its one of the best results we’ve had so far. A team like that they’re on form, we dug in and we do what we’ve been doing,” He said. “It doesn’t get much better than winning week in week out.”
He laughed as I asked him about his last minute close shave, claiming to have known what he was doing.
“I had it under control, I knew what I was doing,” He joked. “I say that now it’s come off, but yeah I was nervous.”
Looking forward to next week Wassmer insists the squad are taking things one game at a time.
“We don’t look further than the next game ahead, the gaffer has drilled that into us. You can see it’s paying off.
“I’m just there to keep clean sheets and unfortunately the geezer has hit a good strike, but the win is the most important thing.”
What a great time to be a Beavers fan and massive thank you to those who travelled down.
A word on the gaffer as well today, who prepared the team perfectly, modifying his tactics and picking a line up that was well suited to get the job done.
He might not be manager of the month… but he’s not half bad.
COME ON YOU BEAVERS!
All of the above were hugely impressive - as was everyone. But my man-of-the-match this week goes to our midfield engine Christian Jolley. I would be surprised if he didn’t cover every blade of grass out there today and he combined his incredible work ethic with a real guile on the ball, consistently leaving defenders in his wake and setting up attacks. A top class performance Christian - well done.
Jamie Laird (off 90 for Reid)
Jake Lee (off for Plummer 75)
Dayle Grubb ©
14. Tristan Plummer (on 75 for Lee)
15. George Morris-Edwards
16. Jake Reid (on 90 for Laird)
Adam Coombes (off 85 for Solomon)
12. Michael Kamara
13. Luke Sheldrick
14. Leon Solomon (on 85 for Coombes)
15. Harry Crawford
16. Dylan Randall
Weston-super-Mare: (Welch 20, Laird 52, Cane 70)
Hampton: (Wassmer 45, Jolley 83)
Weston-super-Mare: (Grubb 5)
Hampton: (Wassmer 11, Kretzschmar (pen) 79)