Alcester Town score twice at the death to seal 3-1 victory over Hampton
Alcester Town 3-1 Hampton
Midland League, Division Two
ODANE Barnes scored an audacious 40-yard lob to cap off Alcester Town’s fine second-half performance as they came from a goal down to run out 3-1 winners over Hampton.
The former Bromsgrove Sporting and Cadbury Athletic striker sealed all three points for the Romans at the Stratford Road Ground with a sublime effort in the sixth minute of added time that caught goalkeeper Matt Allely off guard.
Barnes’ goal came just minutes after Luke Dugmore’s scuffed strike from the edge of the area had completed the turnaround for the home side, who had found themselves behind as early as the fifth minute when Matt Garbett’s deflected shot crept into the bottom corner.
The Romans were well off the pace in the first half but after the half-time break they came out a different animal and when James Ward restored parity just past the hour mark, it was one-way traffic.
However, for all their dominance in the second period, the Romans had to wait until right at the death for the second week running to snatch all three points to maintain their good run of form, which has seen the side lose just one of their last nine Midland League Division Two outings.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though and Aaron Blackwood's men looked off the pace from the very first whistle, and it came as no surprise when Hampton broke the deadlock after five minutes when Garbett made the most of a poor clearance to fire past Tom Waller from just inside the area.
The Romans struggled to keep possession and were often guilty of taking too long in the final third to get a shot off on goal, giving Hampton the chance to get back and make crucial clearances.
In a first-half devoid of any clear-cut chances, the home side’s only effort on goal was a Ward free-kick in the 15th minute that sailed harmlessly over.
Hampton themselves, though, did not cause Waller much trouble after breaking the deadlock and it took until six minutes before the break when they managed to get another shot on goal, with Ciaran Lawless’ wild effort flying well wide of the mark.
Words had clearly been said to the Romans at half-time and after the restart they took control of proceedings. Kieran Fitzgerald had been introduced after the break and he made an instant impact, forcing a save out of Allely in the 53rd minute.
Alcester continued to pile on the pressure and in the 64th minute they finally got what they deserved, with Fitzgerald at the centre of the action once again. The second-half substitute played a delightful cross to Ward who finished well to get his side back on level terms.
Eight minutes later the Romans had a free-kick in the Hampton penalty area as Allely was deemed to have picked up a back pass by James Morris but Dugmore saw his effort blocked by some desperate defending.
Allely then pulled off a fine save to deny Barnes’ first-time volley from finding his bottom right-hand corner, diving at full stretch to tip the ball onto the post. Hampton kept getting pinned further and further back into their own half but always looked a threat on the break.
However, as the game entered the 90th minute it seemed as though the visitors had done enough to battle their way to a point. But when Hampton could not quite clear their lines from a long throw-in, Dugmore ran onto the loose ball and fired a low, bobbling shot through several bodies and into the back of the net.
The best was yet to come though and in the sixth minute of stoppage time Barnes’ 40-yard lobbed effort had Allely backtracking and, having misjudged the flight of the ball, it slipped out of his hands and into the goal.
ALCESTER TOWN: Tom Waller, Daniel Williams (Owen Fisher 83), Jake Wicketts, Luke Wyatt, Joel Bell, Brad Hendry, Odane Barnes, Luke Dugmore (Tez Morton 90+3), Liam Fullerton (Kieran Fitzgerald h/t), Ricardo Richards, James Ward. Unused subs: Max Tibbins, Jack Round.
HAMPTON: Matt Allely, Jason Albini, Jack Chapman, Jack Slevin, James Morris, Ciaran Connaire (Hayden Froggatt 90+1), Cameron Seivwright, Joel Fletcher, Connor Bagshaw (Alex Considine 68), Matt Garbett (Thomas Mitchell 89), Ciaran Lawless. Unused subs: Reece Wyatt, Marcus Brookes.