Beavers count cost of defeat at Eastbourne
10:30am Monday 16th April 2012 in Hampton and Richmond
Hampton & Richmond Borough boss Mark Harper will be counting the cost of a 2-0 defeat at relegation Eastbourne Borough on Saturday after defender Darren Powell returned from the south coast nursing an injury and fellow centre back Dean Inman is facing a third suspension of the season.
Harper made eight changes to the team that lifted the Middlesex Senior Cup last Monday, but they couldn't secure vital survival points as they crashed 2-0 to their relegation rivals - a result made worse by Inman's second half exit for two bookable offences in the space of three minutes.
The game didn't really get going until the 18th minute when Eastbourne had two good chances in the Beavers penalty area, but the right boot of keeper Craig Ross and then the body of Lewis Ferrell blocked goal bound shots that should have been a wake up call.
It was a call the Beavers heeded, and just five minutes later, they created chances of their own.
A strong run by Reece Jones ended with him falling to the ground, but showing great presence of mind, he kept the ball between his feet and flicked it out to Paul Johnson, who took the ball into the area.
However, he ran out of time and his attempt on goal was easily cleared by the gathering Eastbourne defence.
Dave Tarpey was his usual industrious self, and just 60 seconds later played the ball into James Simmonds who couldn't make the keeper work and the shot was well off target.
By this time, Darren Powell was clearly not running freely and Billy Jeffreys came on, but within three minutes of the substitution, Eastbourne had taken the lead.
The Sports had won a corner on the Beavers left and Alex Lacey sprinted up into the box to plant a header firmly past Ross - however, question must be asked of how his marker ended up on the floor behind him as the goal went in.
The last five minutes of the half saw Tarpey twice work Eastbourne keeper Walker, while Simmonds finished the half wondering how the in-form shotstopper had managed to tip a shot wide after Tarpey had done well to create an opening.
Both sides seemed to have enjoyed the half time break as neither really seemed to push on in the opening 15 minutes of the half, but on 64 minutes, the game changed and not to the Beavers benefit.
Inman had already been cautioned for what appeared to be dissent on 61 minutes, then three minutes later, he was cautioned for a second time - for what may have been no more than a clumsy challenge - and was sent to the dressing room.
The game continued like a slow stroll on the Eastbourne seafront as action was limited,the only highlight being a last-ditch Jenkins challenge saving a possible shooting chance for the Sports on 66 minutes.
With just 10 minutes to go, the Beavers were undone.
The defence was split by a neat pass through the middle to Ademono, which left the players all looking for the assistant's intervention.
That never came and the striker finished coolly past Ross to effectively end the game as a contest.
A late mini-flurry saw the Beavers win a stoppage time free kick just outside the box, but Tarpey couldn't thread his shot through the mass of bodies, and it came to nothing.