Beard’s men survive some hairy moments

WEST Hampstead beat Oxford Hawks Seconds 5-3 in Saturday’s match at Brent Cross to remain unbeaten – but they were far from convincing in a careless display.

The victory lifts WH’s tally for the season to 27 points and they remain three clear of nearest rivals Slough, who continued to snap at the heels of the league leaders with a 6-3 win at Maidenhead at the weekend.

But despite scoring five times on Saturday, WH at times struggled to cope with ninth-placed Oxford and player-coach Jack Beard now considers it unlikely that they Brent Cross outfit remain unbeaten this season.

“This weekend we showed that we have vulnerabilities and it shows that it doesn’t take much [to go wrong] to play like that,” Beard said.

“We had a lot of half chances and a lot of near misses.”

“As much as you would like to go through the season without being beaten, it is no longer one of our aims. I think it is a nigh on impossible task.”

Oxford started well and continually troubled the home side as they charged forward in search of the opening goal, but against the run of play, WH struck first when Rob Frampton slotted a short corner.

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Rogier De Roy doubled the lead when he blasted the ball into the net minutes before the break, only for the visitors to cancel it out soon after the restart.

Oxford, now pressing even further forward, continued to trouble the hosts and Dan Solomon, who had a good game in attack, briefly calmed nerves when he slotted WH’s third goal.

But Oxford refused to lie down, and hit back with another goal to leave the score 3-2.

WH rallied and appeared to have mastered their opponents when Mark Little and Ben Battcock slotted a goal apiece to lead 5-2, only to concede again when Oxford scored in the closing minutes.

West Hampstead now break for the Christmas and New Year period. They return to action on Saturday January 8 with their principal focus now promotion back to South League Two.