Beavers Win Charity Shield By A Single Goal
"Is a Charity Shield a proper game?" centred the talk over pre-match beers. The verdict, after some debate, was yes.
Fond memories of some five previous charity shields were pointed to as sort of evidence - a win and a loss in the Conference version, a 4-3 win over FA Vase winners Tiverton Town in the 'Team Talk Cup' and two wins in the Isthmian version, one of them a 6-1 destruction of a second-string Sutton side thrown to the wolves against a full-strength Ks battling at the sharp end of the Conference.
Most clubs seem to count Charity Shields in their honours, Ks had named a strong team and the clinching factor was the proliferation of Isthmian blazers in the Beveree main stand. Yes, this game mattered.
If this was a proper game then it was also a cup final and so perhaps the biggest clue of all should have been that Ks barely turned up, following their recent tradition of (Turvey win aside) failing to give a good account of themselves when silverware is at stake, however minor.
Hampton, who unlike Ks are starting their league campaign this Saturday, had named far from a first choice XI, resting their first choice goalkeeper and ex-Ks Tom Jelley, Kieran Murphy, Josh Casey and the newly-acquired Christian Jolley.
This should have given Ks a fair chance of winning and things started brightly when Ryan Moss slipped the ball past goalkeeper Billy Bishop only to a see a defender clear.
That was as good as it got though and Hampton scored what would prove to be the game's only goal in the 25th minute. Greg Akpele, having already forced Rob Tolfrey into a good save, teed up Nicke Kabamba to fire into the top corner.
Ks were generally solid at the back but the Beavers controlled the game and Ks lacked creativity. Even when they did come close it was from a Hampton error, Bishop showing great reactions to tip a misdirected header past the post despite having been a glorified spectator for most of the game.
Joe Turner headed a diagonal Aaron Goode ball straight at the keeper but it was Hampton who should have added to their lead late in the game. Harold Odamatey, now in Hampton colours, bossed the midfield and teed substitute Jolley up to fire wide.
Casey, also off the bench, had an effort deflected wide and a messy goalmouth scramble was somehow cleared. Late in the game Tolfrey saved a penalty, as he does, but Hampton were still able to cruise to a largely untroubled victory.
As to whether the game mattered, it did and it didn't. As a competition truly worth winning, of course it didn't. But as a pointer for where Ks are ahead of the season to come it did, and the signs are that Tommy Williams has work to do to get Ks ready for Harlow on 13 August.
Match report by Simon Grier.