BY LAURA HOWARD
The Beavers come up against an in-form Taunton Town for only the third time in the National League South as they head to Wordsworth Drive on Saturday.
Taunton are undefeated in their last five matches and currently sit pretty in second place in the league.
Hampton & Richmond, however, are creating their own head of steam from mid-table, notching up two league wins on the bounce and scoring more than three goals in a match for the first time this season on Saturday.
Their opponents are currently on course for feat usually only played out within the dreamland of a ‘Football Manager’ save. Consolidating their promotion last season with a midtable finish, they are now battling it out with the promotion candidates at the top of the table.
To continue their undefeated run at the weekend, however, they will have to overcome a Hampton & Richmond side which beat them at both times of asking last season.
The two encounters bookended the March 2023 fixture list and, to add to the symmetry, both ended in a 3-1 victory to the Beavers.
A brace from Luis Fernandez and a goal from Jake Gray saw the TW12 side over the line in the first match. Back at the Beveree, it was another brace, this time from Ruaridh Donaldson, that secured the three points with a third goal from Alfy Whittingham for good measure.
The first and only other encounter between the two sides, marked the Beavers’ first ventures across the hills of Somerset to Wordsworth Drive. It came in 2016 in the FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying with the Peacocks able to steal a 2-1 win.
This season, Taunton’s top goal scorer, Ross Stearn, could prove to be the Beavers' biggest threat in their attempts to bring home the three points.
The midfielder has six goals to his name this season, offering a threat from deeper in the attack and was the scorer of Taunton’s first ever NLS hat-trick.
Whilst Taunton look to be the in-form team, it is Hampton & Richmond who have actually picked up more points in their last five matches. Taunton have two wins and three draws to their name, Hampton on the other hand, have three wins and a draw over the same period.
With two wins on the trot and a thriller last Saturday, the Beavers have demonstrated that whilst they boast an arsenal of threats in their locker, among them is certainly resilience.
Hampton & Richmond will hope to channel that form this time round in a bid to maintain the winning streak and to stop the Peacocks from showing their feathers.