Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 Welling United 2

Following Saturday’s fine win at Basingstoke, Alan Devonshire named an unchanged side for the visit of Welling United, who themselves were fresh from a fine performance at the weekend, when they picked up an excellent point away to run away leaders Newport County, writes Paul Barker.

The chill wind from the day had dropped and, with the pitch looking in good nick, conditions were ideal for a night game in early February.

Both teams took time to settle into the game, but it was the visitors who carried the early threat. Their speedy forwards, especially on the flanks gave the Beavers cause for concern.

Robinson and Matthews had to be alert to the pacey runs of Fazakerly and Hurrell on the Welling ‘wings’.

It was Hurrell, on 14 minutes, who had the first shot at goal.

He set off on a jinking run, but Matt Lovett, the Hampton keeper was able to watch his shot comfortably clear the bar.

Shortly after, Welling attacked again, this time down the right. Sambrook sent over a dangerous cross that was blocked by Wells, who shepherded the ball for Lovett to claim. As the game settled down Hampton’s confidence was growing and on 19 minutes, Lake sent a perfect ball over the Welling defence for Yaku to chase.

Yaku was forced to take his shot early and ended up just wide of Mitten’s goal.

The Beavers were now enjoying the lion’s share of possession, which resulted in winning a corner on 22 minutes.

Beckford swung over the flag kick and it was met by Dean Inman’s powerful headed to give the home side the advantage.

Welling were determined to get back into the game, with Whitnell and Hurrell firing shots at the home goal.

On 37 minutes, following a Welling free-kick into a crowded penalty area, Craig Dundas was on hand to make a last-ditch goalline clearance.

Hampton conceded a number of free kicks just outside the area, but the defence stood firm until the break. Matthews was booked during this period.

The second half started in lively fashion, with both teams having chances.

A powerful Dundas run resulted in a corner, from which Wells saw a goal bound header cleared off the line.

Hurrell then darted down the other end where Wells, who had regained his defensive position, made a timely interception.

Then on 53 minutes, Welling tied the scores up when Whitnell latched on to a pass to drill the ball passed Lovett.

Both teams were not content with a draw, which resulted in chances at both ends. Yaku was involved on several occasions, but this was not to be his night in front of goal.

Then on 75 minutes, Collier picked up a loose ball just inside the opponents half and set off at speed towards the Welling area.

When he was about 25 yards out he unleashed a shot that skimmed across the turf and nestled in the corner of the net, with Mitten completely beaten.

Could the Beavers hold out for the last 15 minutes to record back to back wins?

Alan Devonshire used all three substitutes, Tanner, Hodges and Tarpey replacing Beckford, Dundas & Yaku.

With seven minutes left the visitors’ pressure told.

Following a cross from their left the ball found its way back to Obersteller, who from just inside the area curled a shot passed an unsighted Lovett in the home goal.

During the closing stages, both teams had chances to gain maximum points, but honours were even when the final whistle blew.

On reflection a draw was a good result from an entertaining game. The point now sees the Beavers three points above the drop zone with games in hand on their rivals.

The past two matches have seen the team give everything to the cause and we have picked up 4 points as a result.

On to Bishops Stortford on Saturday for more of the same, please.

Hampton: Lovett, Robinson, Matthews, Jeffery, Inman, Wells, Lake, Collier, Dundas (Hodges 80), Yaku (Tarpey 84), Beckford (Tanner 65)

Subs not used: Collewijn, Quashie

Booked: Matthews, Collier

Goals: Hampton - Inman 22, Collier 75; Welling United - Whitnell 53, Obersteller 83

Att: 293