Lowestoft Town 0 Hampton and Richmond 3
Hampton and Richmond score all three of their chances in a clinical performance, defeating a stretched Lowestoft Town side 3-0 at the Crown Meadow.
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams (Bailey 73 mins), Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Stuart Ainsley, Jack Ainsley, Fisk, Eagle, Henderson, Osei, Reed
Subs; Bailey, Parsons, Fitzgerald, Jessup
Hampton & Richmond Borough: Chiweshe, Brewer, Wells, Lake, Jeffreys, Roberts, Wanadio (Simmonds 80 mins), Carder, Thompson, Moone (Rocastle 85 mins), Wickham (Turner 73 mins)
Subs; Powell, Turner, Simmonds, Rocastle
Hampton and Richmond Borough score all three of their chances in a clinical performance, defeating a stretched Lowestoft Town side 3-0 at the Crown Meadow.
Lowestoft already had a number of key players missing and going into the game that list was added to, resulting in the Lowestoft team picking itself from the only eleven first team players fit and available. The bench was made up of just four inexperienced players, all of which were from the Reserve/Youth teams.
Prior to the game a minutes applause was had in honour of Nelson Mendela, who sadly passed away on Thursday evening.
The game eventually kicked off and Lowestoft took little time in pinning Hampton back with some good early football.
Jones, as always was vocally marshalling the Lowestoft defence but it was the blues who were bossing the game with slick passing from back to front, as they went in search of the early goal.
Hampton were showing very little to trouble the Lowestoft defence but just before the ten minute mark, Thompson found himself in a good position up field and with him powering into the box, Stuart Ainsley had to make a great covering tackle to deal with the danger.
Lowestoft were the team on the front foot though and they were now forcing a number of corners. One of these corners was sent in by Jack Ainsley and with it nearly going in directly from the corner, it was somehow cleared from near the goal line by the Hampton defence.
As the fifteen minute mark passed, Lowestoft continued to keep the pressure on but had not yet posed any threat to the Hampton keeper Chiweshe. Even an Eagle free-kick from outside the area didn't quite bend enough to find the top corner, as Lowestoft looked to take advantage of their early possession.
Possession doesn't always bring goals though and that was proven in the twentieth minute, as some questionable defending and marking saw Hampton take the lead. A flicked header from a throw-in beat Haynes-Brown and with Moone being poorly marked and getting the right side of the Lowestoft defence, he travelled into the area and finished expertly for 1-0 (20 mins). The goal had been against the run of play but it lifted Hampton who nearly got in again moments later, only to see Eagle get back well to make a good tackle to stop them.
Charlie Moone is the leading goal getter for Hampton and you could see why with him starting to work the Lowestoft defence with his movement and clever positioning.
At the other end Williams found himself in a forward position and with him finding Jack Ainsley, he forced the keeper into a save but with the ball only being pushed into the air and taking an age to drop to Henderson, it gave the defence enough time to charge his follow up effort down.
As the half hour mark passed it was Lowestoft who were still seeing the large share of possession with Osei looking lively up front and producing some neat little touches. These touches were not quite leading to much though, as Lowestoft struggled to find the cutting edge in the final third.
The first booking of the game came for the Hampton number four Lake, who was a little unfortunate to go into the book when being slightly late on Fisk in a tackle that was not malicious at all.
Moone seemed to be the only player carrying any threat to the Lowestoft defence, who with ten minutes of the half remaining started to look like they were forcing their play and as a result it was becoming a little disjointed. Added into that Jones was causing pressure of his own on the Lowestoft defence and midfield with some poor kicks being fired out of play.
As halftime approached the stand looked to lift the team with chants of 'come on you blues'.
A perfect opportunity to lift their chances came when Reed had his shirt pulled, giving Lowestoft a free-kick right on the edge of the area but with Eagle hitting it hard and low, Chiweshe got down well to save, pushing it away from the lurking Osei.
It was noticeable that Hampton were pushing out well when in possession to make things hard for Lowestoft and as the half came to a close, Lowestoft left the field knowing that they needed to go up a gear.
The second half kicked off with the backdrop of a colourful sunset over the Crown Meadow and much like the first half, Lowestoft were pushing early on but still not finding that key breakthrough.
Hampton then carved out their second chance of the game and unfortunately for Lowestoft the second goal. Thompson was seemingly penned into the left corner for Hampton but somehow managed to get the better of Williams and then Haynes-Brown before finding the dangerous Moone in the box and with him sneaking an effort towards an unsighted Jones, it went past the despairing dive of Jones and crept into the far post for 2-0 (51 mins). It was a two goal lead that slightly flattered the opposition but highlighted how important it is to be clinical in front of goal.
Lowestoft tried to bite back with Gaughran and Jack Ainsley combine well but with Jack Ainsley tucking inside, his shot had the power taken out of it by a defender and the keeper claimed with ease.
Lowestoft were managing to win a few corners but much like the first half at Met Police last weekend, the corners were lacking any real quality in the delivery. Last weekend also saw a number of Lowestoft efforts charged down by the defence and following great work by Osei and Eagle in the left corner, to lay the ball back to Fisk, his side footed effort was blocked by a defender.
Hampton and Richmond then clearly highlighted the importance of clinical finishing, effectively ending the match with their third chance of the game and their third and final goal. Wanadio was found in plenty of space out on the right and with him delivering into the middle, Thompson was at hand to head low and in for 3-0 (58 mins).
Lowestoft were continuing to try and make something happen but the Hampton defence were looking solid and Lowestoft were lacking width and having to go long on too many occasions.
As the final fifteen minutes approached Hampton were looking comfortable and even with Jack Ainsley fizzing one over, the result looked safe for them. Hampton freshened from the bench with Turner replacing Wickham, while Lowestoft went to three at the back, replacing Williams with Bailey.
Moone was at it again, getting in a good tussle with Gaughran before bending one past the far post and with Eagle then picking up a booking for a frustrated looking tackle, Lowestoft looked beaten.
Hampton made two further changes as the clock ticked down, with an Osei chance either side of these changes being guided past the far post for Lowestoft.
A strangled appeal for a penalty came for Lowestoft when Osei touched it to Reed in the box and with him appearing to have been taken down, nothing was given and the lack of vocal claims by the rest of the Lowestoft players seemed to suggest that the referee had called it right.
A disappointing booking for descent by Fisk pretty much summed up the day for Lowestoft, as the final whistle sounded and Hampton secured all three points.
Lowestoft did try hard to break down Hampton but lacked that cutting edge when it mattered and were given a harsh lesson in being clinical in front of goal, as Hampton converted all of their chances to take the win.
Eagle tried hard to impose himself on the game for Lowestoft but even he at times let a few passes go astray. One player who worked tirelessly for Lowestoft though was my Man of the Match Andrew Fisk. He put in a very hard working shift to try and get the game going for Lowestoft and showed what an important player he is for Lowestoft in the middle, breaking up the Hampton play well and showing a high success rate with his passing.
Lowestoft are next in action on Saturday when they travel to struggling Thamesmead Town.