Harris Hat-trick Hurts Hornchurch
The Beavers continued their record of upsetting the playoff teams, this time stealing the points from AFC Hornchurch on a surface similar to Beveree.
Necessity, due to suspensions and injuries, forced Paul and Darren into playing 5 in midfield and leaving Ben Harris in the lone striking role. Stuart Lake and Tom Hickey played the withdrawn role, leaving Ben Osman as the central member of a three man midfield with Luke Wanadio and Joe Turner.
The tactic was working well as the Urchins found that the formation gave them little room and on 9 minutes the Beavers took advantage. A lofted ball over the defence fell into the path of Ben Harris; the striker, still going a full pelt on the left of the area, was clipped by Echepare as the keeper flew out pointlessly to try and stop him. Harris picked himself up and sent the keeper diving the wrong way with the penalty kick to open the scoring.
Just 3 minutes later, the Beavers stunned the host crowd into silence as they doubled the lead. Luke Wanadio found himself in space down the right and cut inside the advancing defender, his pass was perfect for Harris to turn his defender and strike the shot into the bottom corner past Echepare.
The 2 goal lead only lasted 2 minutes as the Beavers conceded a free kick with a foul on Rickie Hayles some 5 yards outside of the area. George Purcell stepped up and crashed a rocket just over the defensive wall that gave Rodney Chiweshe no chance.
It could have been all square 5 minutes later as Martin Bourne drifted into the space at the back post and his point blank prodded shot was beaten away by Chiweshe as the Beavers pushed their luck.
Just before the interval Purcell beat the defence, but once again Rodney Chiweshe was alert and managed to prevent the prolific striker getting another.
Directly after half time, the God of Goal Mouth Scrambles smiled on the Beavers for once as Tambeson Eyong's header struck the bar, bounced down in front of the line and after a few heartbeats of panic, was finally cleared.
It was clear this game had more twists in it and just before the hour, it looked as if Martin Tuohy would break the Beavers resistance as his shot appeared to be goal bound, but it curled wide of the goal to the midfielder's dismay.
5 minutes later, the Essex club got their equaliser as the Beavers conceded a free kick on the left side of midfield. Bourne stepped up and crossed to the back post where Rickie Hayles planted a firm header past Chiweshe.
Hornchurch thought they could scent a late winner and started to throw more men forward, but the 5 man midfield held on comfortably and the Urchins could find no way through.
A draw looked more and more likely but with just 10 minutes left, Hayles needlessly fouled Ben Harris in the corner as the striker was going nowhere, having latched onto a long ball downfield. Tom Hickey came up and fired in a low driven cross into the area; making a diagonal run, Harris got enough on the ball to flick the ball past Echepare for his hat trick. This made Ben the 4th Hampton player to register a hat trick this season, which could be quite rare.
Despite Hornchurch's best efforts in the last 10 minutes, 15 when you add in the stoppage time, the nearest they could get to a third was a Stefan Payne free kick which was well over the bar.
Once again, the Beavers overcame tough opponents to create havoc for another of the playoff chasers in the Ryman Premier.
AFC Hornchurch 2
George Purcell 14'
Rickie Hayles 64'
Hampton & Richmond Borough 3
Ben Harris pen 9', 12', 81'.
AFC Hornchurch: 1 Inigo Echepare, 2 Phil Starkey, 3 Chris Bourne (Leigh Bremner 73'), 4 Elliot Styles, 5 Rickie Hayles, 6 Frankie Curley, 7 Tambeson Eyong, 8 Danny Phillips (Joey May 61'), 9 Stefan Payne, 10 George Purcell, 11 Martin Tuohy (Carl Rook 83')
Subs: 12 Billy Coyne, 14 Leigh Bremner, 15 Carl Rook, 16 James Folkes, 17 Joey May
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 Rodney Chiweshe, 2 Harry Mills, 3 George Wells, 4 Stuart Lake, 5 Darren Powell, 6 Justyn Roberts, 7 Luke Wanadio, 8 Ben Osman, 9 Ben Harris, 10 Tom Hickey, 11 Joe Turner
Subs: 12 Reece Brewster, 14 Paris Mason, 15 Jack Barton, 16 Reece Barnett, 17 Luke Edgecombe