BLUE SQUARE SOUTH HAMPTON & RICHMOND...2 Dorchester Town..................0
There was no happier man at Beveree on Saturday than Hampton & Richmond fullback Graham Harper, writes Chris Cottrell.
Harper has been out of action for two months since he coughed up blood in an accidental collision with his goalkeeper Graham Lovett, and was then kept in hospital for five days.
"The specialist told me the lung was bruised black and blue, and it was the internal equivalent of breaking a leg," explained Harper. "It put me on the sidelines for six weeks and I had the hard job of getting back in a very good side," added Harper, who notched up his 200th game for Hampton in September.
"I am the world's worst football watcher and also a bit of a panicker, so I asked the boss for a game for the past two weeks. "When I finally got my chance on Saturday I jumped at it, and it was good to make my comeback on a winning note."
Harper and his team-mates are now concentrating on preventing another embarrassment when they take on
Bury Town in the FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round this Saturday following their shock 2-1 FA Cup first round to Brackley Town.
Beavers have fallen at the first Trophy hurdle in five of the last six seasons. "I haven't had a win in the Trophy the whole time I've been at the club," Harper said.
Against Dorchester, Hampton brought an end to a three-game losing run.
The return of Harper allowed Marcello Fernandes to return to a more familiar defensive midfield having been the stop-gap at right-back. Dorchester hadn't conceded a goal in five games but were 1-0 down inside 10 minutes. Shaun McAuley decoyed the defence with a run across the back line. Barrie Matthews crossed, and McAuley's second feint allowed Craig Tanner to side-foot home at the back post. Soon after the interval Ben Wright then repeated his recent habit of finding the woodwork with two efforts in two minutes, before Hampton finally sealed victory with second goal in the 69th minute.
Lawrence Yaku, on for McAuley set up Wright to smash the ball home.