On the first day of 2023 the hosts: Hampton & Richmond Borough faced Worthing, the side they played and lost to in their final match of 2023.
In that thriller at The Crucial Environmental Stadium, Liam Vincent bagged a hat-trick for The Beavers. In the 23rd minute of this one, the 19-year-old had the chance to put another past Harrison Male, when Dan Bowry was penalised for a foul on Ade Shokunbi in the penalty area.
Much to the delight of the travelling Rebels though, Male produced a superb save in heroic fashion; keeping the scoreline level in the process.
The away side dressed in their famous red gathered momentum after the penalty save and began to take control of the match heading into half-time.
Joel Colbran, Josh Chambers and Ollie Pearce all had chances on the brink of the break, however resolute defending from a collective of Hampton defenders ensured that the score would remain in deadlock at half-time.
The Rebels carried over their strong ending to the first half into the second, dominating the ball and creating an abundance of chances.
Adam Hinshelwood showed his side’s attacking intent with his substitutions on the hour mark. Colbran and Lewis White departed for the strike duo of Callum Kealy and Ibrahim Akanbi – a pair who combined for three of Worthing’s four goals against Hampton on Boxing Day.
Nonetheless, it was Pearce who continued to make a nuisance of himself for the hosts’ defence, as he was denied by another brilliant block in the 65th minute.
Akanbi soon showed why he was the first roll of Hinshelwood’s dice. The forward linked up neatly with Meekums in the 80th minute, as he scooped a lovely lobbed ball over the Borough defence to find Meekums, whose effort narrowly missed the target.
Soon a chance would fall to Akanbi himself, as a wicked delivery came in from fellow substitute: Ollie Starkey, from the right flank.
Akanbi rose, but could only flick his header agonisingly over the top of Matteo Salamon’s net – much to the despair of the travelling Rebels behind the goal.
It wasn’t to be for Worthing, who couldn’t find a late goal that has become strongly associated with them in recent weeks.
Hampton & Richmond were good value for their point as resilient defending got them over the line in a cagey affair.
Both sides remain in the positions they sat in at the start of the day, with The Rebels in sixth and Hampton in 20th.