Hampton Rovers produced an outstanding second half to turn a 23-point deficit into a 22-point victory at Gerry Green Reserve on Saturday.
The Rovers have always struggled at the Parkdale ground with the last win coming in 2008 and the Vultures needed a win to keep their Premier B finals aspirations alive.
Hampton failed to fire in the first half, kicking one major in the first term and two in the second. Parkdale stepped it up in the second term as they put on five goals to take a commanding lead into the main break. They were playing the better footy and Hampton needed to lift to have any hope.
After half time, the young Rovers side began playing the footy they’re capable of. Nathan Smith kicked three of his five goals in a best on ground performance and Sam Bradford also kicked one to bring scores level, as the home failed to register a score for the term. At the break it was 49 a-piece and while the Rovers had the breeze in the final term, the majority of scoring had been towards the city end all day.
It’s all square at 3qtr time. HR 7.7.49 PV 7.7.49. With the wind in the last, but it hasn’t been the scoring end pic.twitter.com/9Xjev6ve7p
— Hampton Rovers FC (@HRAFC) August 13, 2016
Daniel Corp returned to the side and he converted in the opening moments to give Hampton the lead. The Rovers were dominating and Josh McPherson extended the lead to 14 points. The Vultures hit back with their only goal of the second half, but Sam Bradford quickly responded with a quality finish before he kicked another to extend the lead to 20 points.
As the clock counted down, the Rovers held firm and went on to record a 22-point victory, the fourth of the season. It was a sensational display in the second half after all looked lost at half time and with such a young list, the future looks promising for club.
Coach Owen Lalor was thrilled with the efforts of the boys and hoped this momentum would continue through the final two rounds and into next year where the club looks likely to play in Premier C section.
Nathan Smith starred all day and was best on ground, while Benji Audige played his best game for the club. Ben Kneebush, Sam Bradford, Zach Donald and James Prosser were named if the best but it was a true team effort with everyone contributing to the win.
This week, it’s the final home game of the season, as the Rovers host St Bedes/Mentone Tigers at the Boss, before travelling to Camberwell Sports Ground in the final round to face Old Scotch. It’ll be a big day at Boss James Reserve – a triple header with the U19s kicking-off proceedings at 9:20am and a big home game luncheon.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.1 3.5 7.7 11.12 (78)
PARKDALE VULTURES 2.1 7.4 7.7 8.8 (56)
Goal Kickers: N. Smith 5, S. Bradford 3, D. Corp 2, J. McPherson
Best Players: N. Smith, B. Audige, B. Kneebush, S. Bradford, Z. Donald, J. Prosser
The Reserves struggled and went down to the Vultures by 14 goals. Jesse Lovig, Rory Lynch and Ed Turner were best, while Tim Jones, Jack Campion, Brendan Culvenor and Matt Robbins each kicked a goal each.
At Boss James Reserve, the Under 19s recorded a huge 145-point win over bottom-side Old Ivanhoe. The Rovers dominated throughout, booting 28 goals with 13 individual goal kickers. Lachie Cairns made his long-awaited return from injury and kicked seven majors. Skipper Scott Ebbott led from the front and was best on ground. The boy’s face rivals Old Brighton on Saturday in the final round of the season. A win will see the Rovers jump the Grammarians on the ladder, but it still won’t be enough to sneak into the finals.