Thursday, 22 March 2018

DROITWICH SPA 6-0 HAMPTON: FULL REPORT & IMAGES...

Hampton Spanked By Local Burgess & Lemon’s Sour Left Boot…

Droitwich Spa 6-0 Hampton

League leaders Hampton had requested an 8pm start for this game in order for their players to arrive safely in Stourport, at Walshes Meadow, near the fairground. I guess they wished they hadn’t bothered, as they were four goals down by 8.45pm, when the interval was whistled. The damage was limited to two more second period goals and in truth, the visitors only troubled home ‘keeper Matt Oliver once, when he pushed aside a late Connor Hannigan drive. Home forward James Lemon netted a trio, Brad Burgess nabbed a brace and ought to have scored another, the remaining goal being a Matt Hunt header, looped over the hapless Hampton goalie Chris Lucas.
DURING THE TOSS, HAYDN MORRIS SUFFERS A WARDROBE MALFUNCTION AND HE IS FORCED TO USE THE BRACES FROM HIS SUIT TROUSERS TO GET THROUGH THE MATCH...

On my arrival at Stourport, following a crazy satnav detour through the dark lanes of Doverdale (it was even more of a challenge on the return journey) I strolled into the clubhouse to find folks, er, playing Bingo… I was confused by that and made a quick turnabout, leaving the bar area and trundling outside to meet a guy called Dan, who gave me access to the team-sheets. Bingo? A late start? A 6-0 trouncing for the table-toppers? Certainly the evening was far more worthy and wild than the previous night’s dour Lye Town 1-1 Highgate United debacle in the Black Country… 
READY TO KICK OFF, HAMPTON FEEL GOOD AT 0-0.
IT DIDN'T LAST...

Lemon was in fine form for the hosts, Burgess too, as the rushes of left-sider Haydn Morris shoved Hampton back time and again. Errors didn’t aid the Hampton cause however and they gave cheap possession away too often. James Ward, Jack Allerton, Andy Crowther and Hunt all put in hard shifts for the hosts and with the full-backs pushing on and skipper Mike Seeley as belligerent as ever, little would go right for the guests, for whom central striker Benet Parchment never actually stopped running which was a credit to him in dire circumstances.
ALLERTON (8): STRONG IN THE SPA MIDFIELD...

Two early Spa goals set the tone really and the first stemmed from a deep Seeley free-kick, Lemon beat visiting skipper Liam Mansell to head the ball on, Morris caused harassment on the 6 yard line and fed the ball for Burgess to lash past the helpless Lucas from 8 yards, with the Hampton defence in total disarray. 
1-0 SO SOON...

A Ward drive was blocked by Hampton but subsequent possession by Spa led to goal two and it was the galloping Lemon who took sole responsibility (Lemon sole?), fastening onto a clipped pass, I think by Crowther on the right flank. He simply ran on, cut inside and curled a fine left-booter from inside-right high into the far corner of the net, leaving Lucas sprawling and wondering why he’d bothered to turn up at all…
LUCAS: BEATEN BY LEMON'S FINE FINISH FOR 2-0...

A cross by Hunt was nodded to Lucas by Lemon, more good work by the tall striker set up Allerton for a low 19 shot wide of the left upright and then Hampton attacked… Left-flanker Stanford Stewart, who was involved in a keen contest at times with home right-back Curtis Townley, drove way too high from 25 yards but the winger’s ball control was often neat during this game, despite the fact that little came of his dashes. A miscued clearance by Seeley did offer Parchment a shot but that was fired well wide of the left stick from 18 yards. Mansell then bellowed at his players that it was only 2-0 and one goal would change the dynamic of the game but after three more home attacks which led to nought, two more goals completely deflated the visitors before the interval. 
PARCHMENT: TRIED TO PAPER OVER THE CRACKS...

Hampton’s Scott Bennett did well to hack a low right-flank centre by Burgess away from in front of his own goal, a Ward free-kick was claimed comfortably by Lucas and following a free-kick on the left side, Lemon attempted to clip a left-footer from 18 yards but the ball dropped way too late. Then Lemon got away at inside-left, shrugged off defender Alex Pawlowski and slipped a low shot beneath the advancing Lucas and just inside the far post. 
MORRIS SEEMS HAPPY THAT HIS TROUSERS ARE STEADY, WHILST LEMON ENJOYS HAVING NETTED A FIRST-HALF BRACE...

Three became four when a deep free-kick by Spa left-back Chris Glover was nodded on by Ward and there was Hunt at the far post, mismatched aerially with the slim, much smaller Chris Hill and the resulting header looped over the goalkeeper, who was not as tall as many goalies, to drop abjectly into the far corner of the net.
HUNT (4): HIS LOOPING HEADER HAS MADE IT 4-0...

So, 2-0 was suddenly 4-0 and little could be done by Hampton to address such a deficit, especially as the visitors were labouring and creating so few offensive plays. Hill did look to pass the ball, Simon Hinsley, who ended the game in centre defence, never stopped working and to be fair the Hampton coaches continued to encourage their troops in what was an exercise in damage limitation. The points were Spa’s by the break and although the guests nearly pulled a goal back at the start of the second period, through their skipper, little would be seen of Hampton until Hannigan’s late shot. 
THE SECOND PERIOD GETS UNDERWAY...

A Hill free-kick from inside-right saw Mansell beat Seeley aerially, skipper v skipper, number 5 v number 5 but the header dropped past the left upright. Lemon nodded a Glover cross for Lucas to clutch, Pawlowski did well to defend Lemon as he broke at inside-left and then following fine work by Morris on the left, the ball fell in front of goal for the off balance Burgess but from 7 yards he pulled his effort wide of the right stump. Tom Goldsmith replaced Stewart for Hampton but before he’d even dampened his footwear, his team was 5-0 down.

Lemon slipped Burgess clear at inside-right and the forward drove a rising shot over the advancing Lucas and deep into the Hampton net.
BURGESS GETS CUDDLES: 5-0 NOW...

More replacements appeared around this point: Tom Pitt replaced Pawlowski for the guests, Dan Cottrill replaced Crowther for the hosts and then the Bennetts were changed, with Korben replacing Scott. Besar Celaj replaced Townley for Spa and the game finally recovered from the interruptions. Burgess fed Morris who was denied by the advancing Lucas, Ward’s near post shot from Burgess’ right-side flag-kick was blocked for another corner and Spa nearly netted from that. Burgess’ delivery was met at the near post by Ward’s head, unchallenged and his looping effort dropped close to the far angle of crossbar and post but although challenging for it, Lemon was unable to stave off the attentions of Mansell to get in a telling headed touch.
HAMPTON: STUNNED & FORLORN...

Lemon then did well not to move onto Burgess’ pass, the linesman near me was flagging vigorously but the referee saw that Burgess was running onto the ball himself and to be fair, the outrushing Lucas saved well. Hinsley raced back to usher away the ball after Lemon’s chip over Lucas had looked ominous, Joe Mayo-Braiden replaced Ward for the hosts and then Lemon placed the meringue truly upon his pudding by scoring his third and his team’s sixth goal.
6-0: LEMON HAS COMPLETED A HAT-TRICK...

Cottrill slotted a pass through inside-left, visiting right-footed left-back Kadim Arshad played the lean striker onside and Lemon’s low shot from 12 yards appeared to go through Lucas before bobbling sadly over the goal-line. Lemon jogged to his coaches for a hug, Hampton simply looked forlorn but then the visitors forced Oliver into a save. The ball was struck well enough by Hannigan from 20 yards but Oliver slithered to his right to stop it, then managed to baulk the lurking Goldsmith as he attempted to net a rebound from an acute angle. The resulting corner came to nothing.

Mayo-Braiden fed Lemon at inside-left but Lucas rushed out to deny the forward, a poor fly-kick by Lucas ricocheted off Lemon to Burgess, 24 yards out but with Lucas marooned, Burgess hurried a shot well wide and then Burgess fell inside the 18 yard box, not earning a penalty. A hefty challenge between Allerton and Mansell, who looked aggrieved, was the last meaningful action of an eventful Midland League 2 clash and Bingo! the goal-differences of the two teams had been so altered… Hampton’s had been +6 and was now 0, whilst Droitwich’s had been 0 and was now +6… Weird.
MANSELL: "EXCUSE ME GOOD SIR, BUT ONE'S SHOE WAS RATHER HIGH AS IT APPROACHED ME..."

Lemon had squeezed every drop out of the Hampton defence, Burgess might have netted more goals and Morris was unfortunate not to get the reward of a strike. In truth, the home defence was rarely worried, whereas Hampton’s back-line and ‘keeper were constantly threatened. Arshad, right-footed on the left side of defence for the guests was unable to link with the danger that could have been Stewart but as I wrote above, fair play to Parchment for never giving up. Adam Richardson did manage a few smart passes from wide but generally he was offered poor service by colleagues. 

I was pleased that Josh Szikora-Warmington didn’t join Joe Mayo-Braiden from the bench for the hosts, for this report would certainly have been considerably longer. I had, on arrival, noticed and greeted the Droitwich fan who used to (does he still?) feature as Bromsgrove Sporting’s car-park attendant, who is quite a character but credit to Stourport Swifts, for their pitch was in reasonable condition for the match.

Me? Prepared for the rally through Doverdale, although I SO wanted to put my head round the clubhouse door and yell: “HOUSE…”

It’s what I do…

TEAMS: 

DROITWICH SPA:
MATT OLIVER, CURTIS TOWNLEY, CHRIS GLOVER, MATT HUNT, MIKE SEELEY (CAPT), ANDY CROWTHER, BRAD BURGESS, JACK ALLERTON, JAMES LEMON, JAMES WARD, HAYDN MORRIS.
SUBS:
DAN COTTRILL, JOSH SZIKORA-WARMINGTON, JOE MAYO-BRAIDEN, BESAR CELAJ.

HAMPTON:
CHRIS LUCAS, SCOTT BENNETT, KADIM ARSHAD, ALEX PAWLOWSKI, LIAM MANSELL (CAPT), CHRIS HILL, SIMON HINSLEY, CONNOR HANNIGAN, BENET PARCHMENT, ADAM RICHARDSON, STANFORD STEWART. 
SUBS:
TOM PITT, TOM GOLDSMITH, KORBEN BENNETT, SCOTT MORRISON.


    

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