Hampton & Richmond Borough 1-0 Hendon
Saturday, 19th March 2005. Att: 240
Scorers: Lewington, 69'
Midfielder Craig Lewington celebrated his 23rd birthday with a blooded face, a booking and finally the only goal of the game to earn Hampton a valuable victory in their continuing quest for a place in the end of season promotion playoffs. Faced with injuries to Adrian Allen and Marcello Fernandes and the start of a three game suspension for Andy Morley, Hampton signed striker Richard Pacquette from Hemel Hemstead, drafted in Obinna Ulasi into the starting line up and had reserves Steve Omonua, Henry Cook and Tom Crossland on the bench.
Just a few days after playing on snow covered pitches Hampton took on Hendon on the warmest day of the year so far. Mid-table Hendon have had more losses than wins this season and a draw is as rare as a Beaver lodging on the nearby River Thames. After a goal less first half it looked as if Hendon might be on target for a draw but an individual goal by Lewington in the 69th minute saw Hampton win.
The dominating player in the first half was Hendon`s 6 foot plus keeper Dave King. King controlled his goal area and nothing got past him in the air. Kieron Drake had to be on his mettle, twice he denied Ross Pickett for the visitors. In the 7th minute Drake made a point blank save at the near post and then midway through the first half he sprinted out quickly to rob Pickett. Graham Harper, Alan Inns, Orlando Jeffrey and Ryan Ashe all missed the target from good positions. Lewington`s match got off to a painful start, the fierce tackling midfielder needed several minutes of treatment when he got a whack in the mouth in the 12th minute, after the flow of blood was staunched he was able to continue.
As in the first half the second period saw both sides trying to wrest control of the game. The pitch had hardened after several warm dry days and the ball was taking some higher than expected bounces. In the 53rd minute Hampton`s central defender Jeffrey saw the opportunity to get forward and ended up taking the ball on a forty yard run into the Hendon penalty area, Inns fired goalwards from close range but King made an excellent save. Lewington was in the thick of the action again, this time collecting a booking in the 64th minute.
Five minutes later Lewington won the ball in midfield, surged forward and shot low into the corner of the net, King unable to get down and across in time to prevent the birthday boy scoring. The game continued to seesaw from one side to the other but with Hendon unable to get a meaningful shot on target the points stayed with the Beavers.
Written for the official website and reproduced here.