HOCKEY: UNBEATEN Hampton moved three points clear at the top of the Midlands League Division Two after beating second-placed Chesterfield 3-2 on Saturday.
In what was their first game back after the Christmas break, Hampton did not make the best of starts with the visitors opening the scoring with their first attack of the game.
However, this seemed to spur Hampton on and they soon found their stride. Some crisp passing moves brought about a couple of penalty corners, both of which were dispatched by Jon Coleman as the host went in front.
As the half wore on, Hampton’s work-rate saw them create a number of chances and, when Dafydd Bowles was fouled in the penalty area, Jas Ghata-Aura stepped up to convert the penalty flick to increase the deficit to two goals at the half-way stage.
The second half saw Chesterfield fight back and get a grip on the game. They converted a penalty corner of their own midway through the half to bring the score to 3-2 with all to play for.
Hampton pushed for another goal but could not convert any of their chances, and it was left to goalkeeper Andrew Partridge to ensure the three points with a string of fine saves towards the final whistle.
The win sees Hampton move three points clear at the top of league.
Elsewhere, Hampton’s ladies side travelled to local rivals Solihull Blossomfield with high expectations after a positive start the campaign last year.
The opening ten minutes proved to be an even contest but Hampton appeared unsettled by the solid start made but the home side.
Despite some opportunities for Hampton it was the home team that struck first with a scrappy short corner finding the backboard.
This early setback seemed to reinvigorate the away team who increased the pressure and began to control territory on the pitch and the hosts eventually buckled late in the first half and an unfortunate own goal saw parity at half time.
Hampton continued where they left off in the first half but despite their increasing dominance they were made to wait by a battling Blossomfield.
Hampton’s perseverance eventually paid dividends late in the second half when they benefited from a scrappy goal of their own, with Naomi Ennis pouncing on a loose ball in the D, to slot it past the keeper.
The second goal gave the team renewed confidence and spurred Hampton on to play the best hockey of the match late in the second half. To put the result beyond doubt Lauren Boon capped off a fine team performance by firing home from a short corner to complete a 3-1 win.