Staines Town 0-0 Hampton & Richmond Borough
Saturday, 8th January 2005. Att: 304
An absorbing contest to watch despite no goals being scored was the general opinion by most supporters at the end of this derby match at Staines Town. Hampton, with a strong wind behind them, took the honours in the first half. Staines came strongly into the game during the last fifteen minutes of the second half but in the end a draw was just about right. Both sides were up for it` as they say, and with so many players and officials involved who have both Staines and Hampton connections, it was hardly surprising. No one gave anyone else room to play and with the gusty conditions it was never likely to be a game of precision passing, nevertheless there was plenty of action to keep the fans minds off the cold weather.
Staines had the ball in the net from Paul Ellis after just four minutes but the Assistant Referee had already indicated offside well before the shot was taken. It would be another hour before there was a regulation shot on target that necessitated a keeper to make a save. Possession wise, the remainder of the half belonged to Hampton. Staines defence had to deal with numerous attacks and crosses but restricted Hampton to off target shots. Alan Inns headed over from a corner, and then later sidefooted wide a pass from Elliott Godfrey. Obinna Ulasi showed up well in a move late in the half but Staines held firm. Just minutes before half time the temperature of the game shot up almost off the scale. Ex-Hampton midfielder, Fiston Manuella (who has a long history of disciplinary problems) launched himself high at Inns. The Hampton midfielder went down in a heap and then had to be held back by his colleagues as he demanded some form of retribution, Inns's left sock was shredded away, his wrap around shin pad, which saved him from serious injury, was left hanging off what was left of his red sock. Referee Williams booked Manuella for his rash and dangerous challenge (strangely enough Manella was never a factor for the rest of the game).
The second half started well for Hampton, Godfrey headed an effort straight at Matt Lovett in the Staines goal, and then Fabian Forde (who was the victim of some eccentric flag waving by one of the Assistants) was almost played in by a cross from the right by Graham Harper. In the 65th minute Hampton's keeper Kieron Drake had his first direct shot to take and then a few minutes later dived to his left to divert an effort past the post for a corner. It was now the turn of Hampton's defence to be resolute, Dean Wells and Matt Elverson rose to the occasion as Staines started to come more into the game. In order to counter Staines, Manager Alan Devonshire actually made some attacking substitutions looking to try and snatch a win, one of those, Richard O'Connor, was unlucky with a shot blocked in the 81st minute. Seven minutes from time a splendidly timed last ditch tackle by Elverson took the ball and the Staines forward went tumbling down, play on, no penalty was the Referee's decision (I could clearly see he was right from 100 yards away!). Craig Lewington almost won the game for Hampton in the final few minutes, he collected the ball from midfield, surged forward and fired in a rising shot that was heading for the top corner until it was deflected away for a corner by a defender, (curses foiled at the last moment!).
The game ended all square with Hampton, maintaining sixth place in the table, and obtaining their first point away from home since a 0-0 draw at Cheshunt on 7th September, over four months previously
Written for the official website and reproduced here.