Hampton & Richmond Borough 1-0 Thurrock
Monday, 27th August 2012. Att: 427
Scorers: Moone 38'
Another win, another clean sheet, and another goal for Charlie Moone. Yet the performance wasn't all it might have been...
Mark Harper brought back Mal Kamara to the right back slot in place of Alan Bray who dropped to the bench. The rest of the team were unchanged.
Thurrock had the opening chance as a ricochet ran invitingly to Orinlonise inside the first minute, but the shot dribbled well wide. From here on, it was mostly Hampton who held the upper hand. Chances fell to Joe Benjamin, Jon-Jo Bates and Charlie Moone before 20 minutes were up, only Bates' effort forced a save from Adam Seal.
Thurrock couldn't seem to put any sustained pressure on the Beavers, the nearest they got was an Obamwonyi header which went wide, plus Barnett had a straight shot easily pouched by Rodney Chiweshe.
The Beavers midfield were in control and they used it to good effect, releasing Mal Kamara down the right; his powerful run beat at least two players before he hit the cross from the line.
Moone, however, couldn't direct his header past Seal in the Thurrock goal.
Less than a minute later, Bates went on a 20 yard dribble to the edge of the box, but his reverse shot drifted past the post. The confidence within in the team was plain to see.
With just 7 minutes to the break, the Beavers won a free kick on the right hand side of the box. Neil Jenkins' cross floated to the back post, Max Hustwick headed it back across, wrong-footing everyone but Charlie Moone, who planted his header firmly into the net. In truth this was no more than they deserved at half time, going in 1-0 in front.
HRBFC 1 Thurrock 0
The game could so easily have been beyond Thurrock's reach early in the second half as Charlie Moone couldn't quite bring the ball under control and Seal dived gratefully on the ball.
Thurrock then started to force their way into the game, Orinlonise's shot from the edge of the box was wide and Obamwonyi's header floated over the bar but the signs were showing that the Beavers weren't going to have it easy for the rest of the game.
Just before the hour mark, James Simmonds tried a curling shot from about 20 yds and Seal had to stretch to his fullest to get a fingertip on the shot, denying Simmonds his first goal of the season, which would have been deserved on that shot.
After the raft of substitutions, Thurrock began to wind the pressure up notch by notch as they looked to get back on par with the Beavers and on 75 minutes they almost did. A cross looked to be going out, but a Thurrock head nodded the ball back over Rodney Chiweshe, who was covering the post. For a heart-stopping second the ball looked to be going in, but the solid boot of Gary Holloway hooked the ball to safety.
Thurrock substitute Harry Honesty must have thought he was in with 10 minutes to go, one on one with Chiweshe, but the accurate challenge of Max Hustwick tipped the ball out for a corner.
There was no let up for the Beavers defence as Chiweshe had to beat away another cross box header while under serious pressure as the seconds counted down to the 90th, but even then Thurrock created chances, a powerful 20 yd drive had to be tipped over and deep into added time, the ball had to be punted clear as it bounced around the box.
In truth, the performance wasn't that great and if Thurrock had got a forward who could hit the target, it could have been so much different. However, the record books show a 1-0 victory and the Beavers top the table after four games. Playing badly and winning is something, but it will be a thrilling sight when this Beavers lineup play well, and no doubt they will.
In choosing my Man of the Match, either of the centre backs coould have taken it, but Max Hustwick demonstrated his worth to the team with a commanding display in association with Darren Powell
Written for the official website, hamptonfc.net, and reproduced here.