A goal inside the opening two minutes of the game proved sufficient for the West Londoners to become the first side to win at Wordsworth Drive in the National League this season. From then on the Peacocks boasted territorial rights for the remainder of the contest, enjoying lengthy swathes of possession and delivering the ball where it mattered on numerous occasions but for all that they couldn’t find the net and the Beavers did. Dam frustrating.
Following a two week hiatus Town named an identical starting eleven from the one that had gained a point at Dover in their previous outing, but the hosts were still mentally on their enforced break as they found themselves trailing with the clock only just warming up. It was all too easy for Hampton to break through, getting in behind for Jake Gray to lay the ball across from the right for Mason Bloomfield to find the net from inside the six yard box. The hosts won two early corners as they looked to get this sudden shock out of their system, but it was the visitors again who threatened when Gray had time to take aim from just outside the area. Town keeper Dan Lavercombe was equal to it though as he got down to his right to push wide. From then on the Peacocks assumed the driving seat with traffic very much toward the opposition goal. Ross Stearn saw his shot blocked for another corner before a superb pass from Cameron Evans located Ollie Chamberlain out wide and when his cross fell loose, Evans was on it to prod goalwards, only for his effort to seemingly get obstructed by a Hampton hand but despite vehement appeals referee Swallow was having none of it.
Undeterred, Town continued to pass the ball around sweetly as they searched for a way through. There was a brief raising of the heartbeat when Dan Wishart received a pass infield to drill narrowly wide for the Beavers, however this proved of momentary concern, and it was Hampton keeper Adam Desbois who was the more occupied as he was forced into two strong saves in quick succession. The crowd were getting ready to celebrate just before the half hour when Jay Foulston’s cross reached Chamberlain and his strike looked in until Desbois made a fine diving stop to parry before an enticing cross from Evans found Austen Booth whose header was tipped over the bar.
Further pressure up to the break failed to pay dividends. Foulston swung in a cross to the far post where an outstretched Dylan Morgan just missed connecting while Foulston directed a header comfortably over from a Lloyd James free kick. The reaction of the Town No 3 punching the turf in irritation summed up a first half where the end product did not match the approach play but still all to play for.
The second half began fairly quietly and apart from Lavercombe making a simple claim from a Luis Fernandes header there was nothing of note. Play was then halted ten minutes in when Nick Grimes and Bloomfield clashed heads in a challenge which saw the Hampton goalscorer retire from the action following treatment. Town raised it a notch when Stearn glanced a header wide from Foulston’s cross while an attractive build-up culminated in Morgan gaining room, only to see Desbois palm the 18 yard strike away. That proved Morgan’s final contribution as he was replaced by Nick McCootie.
Hampton had a great opportunity to wrap the game up immediately afterwards when former West Country boy Ben Seymour latched onto a pass down the left and found himself through on goal. Lavercombe stood firm though to block well and Gray fired the rebound wide of the far post. The Peacocks breathed again and resumed their mission. Unfortunately though the standards from the opening 45 minutes were never fully replicated after the break.
Nat Jarvis turned his man to deliver a cross, Chamberlain, who was a constant menace to Hampton, met it to fire at the target and Stearn put the shot over the top from close range. The flag was up though so no harm done. Jarvis gave way to Dave Sims-Burgess as Town persevered. McCootie found Chamberlain who fired over and the favour was reciprocated when Chamberlain’s ball in was met by McCootie whose shot on the run hit a white shirt for a corner, this being cleared as far as Lee Lucas who steadied himself before sending a disappointing effort over the top.
Zac Smith took over from Stearn just before the 90 were up which was extended by another ten minutes of stoppage time, during which time Lucas volleyed over the angle and McCootie powered into the box but saw his cross held at the near post. A scenario where you are trying to cut a loaf of bread with a plastic ruler may sum up the afternoon from Town’s viewpoint as a Hampton side who defended well but were nothing out of the ordinary secured their third win on the bounce. Our sadly passed Club President Tom Harris whose memory was honoured with a one minute silence prior to kick-off would no doubt have been as equally frustrated as both me and all other Town fans present 🦚
Taunton: Dan Lavercombe, Jay Foulston, Nick Grimes (captain), Austen Booth, Ollie Chamberlain, Lloyd James, Nat Jarvis (Dave Sims-Burgess 74), Ross Stearn (Zac Smith 88), Cameron Evans, Dylan Morgan (Nick McCootie 64), Lee Lucas. Unused subs: Dan Ball, Steve Phillips
Hampton & Richmond: Adam Desbois, Jordan Thomas (Connor Kurran-Browne 87), Ruaridh Donaldson, Dean Inman, Luis Fernandez, Ben Seymour, Jake Gray (captain), Sam Deadfield, George Hunt (Isaac Pitblado 47), Dan Wishart, Mason Bloomfield (Alfy Whittingham 58). Unused subs: Rob Hall, Alex Solomon
Referee: Elliott Swallow (Cardiff)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Colin Hubbard (Wimborne)
Referee’s Assistant 2: Martin Underhay (Weymouth)
“As frustrated as I’ve ever been I think at a game of football today……..” watch Rob Dray’s Match Reaction on Peacocks TV HERE
Match highlights on Peacocks TV can be seen HERE
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance MOM
Ollie Chamberlain receives the Taunton Town Man Of The Match award from former Taunton cricketer and now actor Torquil Deacon