THE Beavers let a 2-1 lead slip as they ultimately succumbed to a Maidenhead side that waited for their opportunities and took them confidently late in the game.
Hampton have now lost at home to two National division sides in Boreham Wood and the Magpies, but they were by no means disgraced in either match and, indeed, showed promising signs for the upcoming season.
Gary is homing in on his likely starting XI for the opener at Chelmsford on August 3, though he has to decide on whether the players at his disposal fit better into a back three or a conventional four in defence.
Other areas in which he has to make a call are who fits better into the midfield and whether he can afford the luxury of two marksmen in Jason Ewington and Danilo Oris-Dadomo or whether he rotates the pair.
The Beavers looked much better in attack than the previous Saturday and gave the Maidenhead defence a testing time for the first two-thirds of the match.
Supporters will worry about an apparent vulnerability from set-pieces, even with the agile and athletic Laurie Walker as a reassuring presence in goal. The second Maidenhead goal was an unchallenged header from one of their defenders.
Maidenhead took an early lead through a penalty – that’s two conceded in successive games, just as the team was settling – but equalised with a glimpse of Ewington’s predatory abilities as he broke clear of the defence and lobbed the goalkeeper.
The Beavers looked like they might win it when Ty Miller-Rodney shot them in front from close range after the break, but the unchallenged header squared the match, while an unfortunate individual slip let Maidenhead in for the winner.
The substitutions came quite late in the game, when the newcomers had little chance to influence matters. One face we had not seen for a while was that of Charlie Ten Grotenhuis, a former Hampton Academy player who went on to Bristol Rovers but has been on loan with clubs in National League South in recent seasons.
By most people’s reckonings, Gary has room for three more in his squad. One will probably be a back-up goalkeeper but the other places are very much up for grabs.
On now to another friendly at Enfield Town on Tuesday, 7.45pm, and the visit of AFC Wimbledon to the Jezzards Beveree next Saturday, 3pm.