Harper: Hampton must react to first defeat

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Hampton & Richmond Borough boss Mark Harper has demanded his players turn a negative into a positive after suffering a first league defeat of the campaign on Monday night.

An 89th minute Richard Jolly strike saw Wealdstone beat the Beavers 3-2, despite Joel Ledgister and Tom Hickey giving their side a 2-0 half-time advantage.

Hampton, missing groin strain victim Darren Powell in defence, conceded the same number of goals on Monday night as they had in their previous three games.

But they remain top of the Ryman Premier League table and Harper, who expects Powell to be fit for this weekend’s visit to East Thurrock United, wants it to stay that way.

“This week will be a massive test of character for our boys,” he said.

“We’ve lost our first league game and I want to see a positive reaction.

“We played our best 45 minutes of football this season in the first half and probably our worst 45 minutes in the second half.

“Credit to Wealdstone though.  They played well and Richard Jolly has made a career out of scoring those goals.”

Saturday’s 1-0 FA Trophy triumph over Three Bridges featured a cameo from new signing Tresor Kandol after his international clearance was fast-tracked by the Spanish Football Federation.

“We need to get him fit quickly and hopefully we’ll see the best of him soon,” added Harper.

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