DAVE Tarpey stole the headlines as Hampton & Richmond Borough reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history on Tuesday night.
But those who saw their 4-1 win over East Thurrock will know despite Tarpey’s second-half hat-trick this was a tale of two goalkeepers with Craig Ross being just as responsible for booking the Beavers an away trip to Northwich Victoria on Saturday. Hampton’s custodian had one of the nights of his life, pulling off a string of superb stops to keep his side in the game in the first half, while opposite number Richard Wray had an evening to forget. Hampton’s reward is a tie to be played at League Two Macclesfield’s ground, Moss Road, after Northwich were evicted from their home this week by new landlords. The first 45 minutes at the Beveree was a story of Ross against the rest as he first somehow arched his back sufficiently to claw Sam Collins’ dipping shot over the crossbar. Barely 60 seconds later former Ashford Town Ross was at it again with a fabulous reaction stop from Kye Ruez’s half-volley. And on 35 minutes the ex-Crystal Palace reserve team stopper somehow got his fingertips onto Kris Newby’s low drive from the right edge to deflect it onto the post and away to safety. Just 60 seconds later there were signs of what was to come for Wray as he fumbled a Tarpey (pic) free-kick and in the scramble which followed both Louie Rae Beadle and Paul Johnson had efforts blocked on the line. Hampton were a different side after the break and took the lead on 54 minutes when Johnson’s measured pass was controlled on the chest by Tarpey before his right foot shot squirmed under Wray and inside the keeper’s near post. Two minutes later it was 2-0 when a long ball over the top found Wray in no man’s land, allowing Tarpey to lob over him into the unguarded net. It might have been 2-2 minutes later as a scramble in the Hampton box saw both Ruez and Collins just fail to force the ball in before Ross again kept his side in front with a full stretch save to deny Sam Higgins from long range. Relief came in stoppage time when with East Thurrock committed to all-out attack substitute Charlie Moone’s superb pass found that man Tarpey again, who not for the first time lobbed Wray to seal victory. And there was even time for a fourth as Tarpey’s cross was diverted into his own net by Ben Wood.