James Roberts strikes twice against the Hampton & Richmond side he turned out for earlier in the season as Hawks open up a gap in play-off pursuit

James Roberts strikes twice against the Hampton & Richmond side he turned out for earlier in the season as Hawks open up a gap in play-off pursuit

By Lewis Mason
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 5:04 pm
Captain Joe Oastler got Hawks' opener in the victory over Hampton & Richmond Picture: Dave Haines
Captain Joe Oastler got Hawks' opener in the victory over Hampton & Richmond Picture: Dave Haines

Roberts', who spent a one-month loan spell at Hampton earlier in the season, strikes came in the space of four second-half minutes, following on from captain Joe Oastler's first-half opener as Paul Doswell's side remain seventh in the table with just two games left to play.

The victory was Hawks' sixth in their past seven Westleigh Park outings - drawing the other - and they have scored 22 goals over that period.

It was a win which also saw Doswell's troops open up a three-point gap between themselves and eighth-placed Chippenham in the race for a top-seven finish after they were held to a 2-2 draw at fellow promotion-hopefuls Ebbsfletet.

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Hawks were a little slow to get going but sprang into life with a couple of opportunities created in quick succession.

Forward Manny Duku’s deflected effort having met Tommy Wright's cross on 15 minutes went just wide of the far post. Then, from the resulting corner, Joe Newton somehow shot into the side-netting from close range after meeting Wright's whipped corner.

Yet Hampton settled much the better and were the more composed, creating chances of their own at the other end.

Goalkeeper Ross Worner did well to tip over Charlton loanee Lucas Ness' strike from the edge of the area after 25 minutes.

Ness then squandered a glorious chance from the corner which followed, side-footing wide from around six yards out with the goal gaping after Worner had made a mess of coming to collect the ball.

But it was the Hawks who edged themselves ahead with 41 minutes on the clock. Billy Clifford's corner found its way through to captain Oastler and his hooked effort from inside the area beat Alan Julian for his seventh goal of the season.

Again, it was the Beavers in the ascendancy in the early exchanges after the restart, although the Hawks should have increased their advantage with a couple of good opportunities.

Substitute Oscar Gobern's header from Clifford's deep corner was hacked away on the line by Zach Dronfield on 65 minutes.

Striker Wright then fired straight into the arms of goalkeeper Alan Julian from all of six yards after James Roberts' deflected effort had fallen kindly to him a minute later.

The chances continued to come yet the Hawks could not find that killer second. Julian got down well to tip Roberts' strike wide after he had been played in behind, then he sent a shot just wide of the far post with a little more than 10 minutes to play.

But Roberts did get himself on the scoresheet with 10 minutes left, latching onto Wright's through ball and slotting past Julian to double the hosts' advantage.

Roberts was then on the scoresheet on 84 minutes as he acrobatically fired into the net from just inside the area to hand the Hawks a three-goal cushion.

Hawks: Worner; Passley, Shroll, Oastler, Newton, Clifford, McCarthy, Wright, Payne, Duku, Roberts. Subs: Gobern (Payne, 59), Rendell (Gobern, 79), Andrews (Duku, 83), Collins, Read.