Hampton & Richmond Borough Triumph in Thriller

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The final of the 2016/17 Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup was contested on Tuesday evening at the Beveree. This final, between Hampton & Richmond Borough and Wealdstone, had been deferred from the end of last season because of the former club’s involvement in the National League play-offs.

The game was played in memory of the late much loved and respected President of Hampton & Richmond Borough FC, Alan Simpson OBE, who had sadly died earlier this year. Alan would have certainly enjoyed this match, which was full of good exciting competitive football, played at a fast pace.

The first quarter of the match developed into a hard fought, evenly balanced end to end encounter. Both sides played attractive football but neither keeper was severely tested during this period.

Hampton then started to gain the ascendancy. Wide men, Taurean Roberts and Brendan Kiernan put some dangerous balls into the Wealdstone penalty box but these were efficiently dealt with by the defenders. Brendan produced a good run and cut in but his shot was charged down and eventually scrambled away for a corner. The corner kick gave keeper, Jonathan North some problems but he eventually held onto the ball. A low drive by Shaun McAuley was kept out by a defender’s foot and another penetrating run by Brendan Kiernan was saved low down by Jonathan.

Max Kretzschmar went clear but he delayed his shot, which was charged down. Max then had a fierce drive pushed out by Jonathan North. The subsequent flurry of goalmouth activity ended with Ryan Moss hitting the side netting.

At the other end, Matty Whichelow floated a dangerous free kick into the Hampton box but a foul on the goalkeeper brought an end to this attack.

Hampton resumed the initiative. Skipper Josh Casey’s free kick from wide left was punched away. The ball eventually ran to Max Kretzschmar, whose shot was just off target. Josh floated another free kick into the Wealdstone penalty area but although Charlie Wassmer got his head to the ball, he couldn’t convert the chance. Josh Casey made a good run and played a one- two with Max, whose shot was intercepted by a defender’s outstretched foot.

Hampton took the lead after 42 minutes through a superbly placed header by Max Kretzschmar from Taurean Roberts’ cross.

Half time score: Hampton & Richmond Borough 1   Wealdstone 0

Wealdstone had the first scoring chance of the second half but Dan Fitchett blazed over from close range in a crowded goalmouth. Then a dangerous free kick by Elliott Godfrey was punched clear by an under pressure Sam Howes.

Play now became even more fast and furious and very physical. The ball fell for Shaun McAuley in the Wealdstone box but his shot was just over. A splendid high speed move involving Max and Ryan Moss ended with Jonathan saving at Ryan’s feet.   Brendan Kiernan drew the keeper out wide and squared across goal but the chance wasn’t converted. Then Brendan cut in menacingly but his shot was deflected for a corner.

Charlie Wassmer was sent off for violent conduct in the 69th minute following illegal use of his knee.

Ciaron Brown produced a telling through ball which was chased into the Hampton area by Elliott Benyon. However, Elliott was dispossessed before he could shoot.

Hampton substitute Duncan Culley was narrowly wide with a free kick from around 25 yards, almost immediately after joining the action. Then Shaun McAuley released Christian Jolley, who drilled his shot across goal.

Wealdstone pressured the Hampton defence in search of an equaliser. A flurry in the goalmouth resulted in Josh Casey heading off of the line. Several testing balls were delivered into the Hampton penalty area during the closing stages, including one by keeper Jonathan North from the half way line. However, the Hampton defence successfully resisted Wealdstone’s efforts to register a deserved victory in one of the best Middlesex Senior Cup finals in recent memory.

Final score: Hampton & Richmond Borough 1   Wealdstone 0

Referee Neil Morrison enjoyed an excellent game and controlled the match in an exemplary manner. He was very well supported by his assistants, Neil Fyfield and Conor Griffin and fourth official, Tom Simmons. The entire team was a credit to Middlesex and reflected the undoubted quality of refereeing within the Association.

The Guest of Honour, former Middlesex FA President, Jim Taylor, presented the Cup and medals after the match. He chose Wealdstone’s Ciaron Brown, who had excelled in his role on the left hand side of defence, as Player of the Match. There were several very serious contenders for this award.

Our thanks are given to Hampton & Richmond Borough FC for allowing us the use of their superb facilities and for their excellent hospitality on the day. The attendance was 481.

HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH: Sam Howes, Nathan Collier, Josh Casey (capt), Charlie Wassmer, Claudiu Vilcu, Shaun McAuley, Brendan Kiernan, Christian Jolley, Ryan Moss, Max Kretzschmar and Taurean Roberts.

Substitutes: Duncan Culley (for Moss 74 mins), Michael Kamara (for Kiernan 74), Tom Jelley (for Roberts 83), Billy Bishop and Harry Crawford  were not used.

Manager: Alan Dowson

WEALDSTONE: Jonathan North, Eddie Oshodi, Jerome Okimo, Liam Harwood, Josh Hill, Ciaron Brown, Matty Whichelow, Sam Cox (capt), Elliott Benyon, Dan Fitchett and Ricky Wellard.

Substitutes: Elliott Godfrey (for Whichelow at HT), David Hunt (for Fitchett 83), Ravan Constable, Michael Anastasiou and Benji Crilley were not used.

Manager: Gordon Bartlett

 

Jim Taylor

 

Match highlights:

 

 

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