Hampton and Richmond Borough boss Gary McCann bemoaned the difficulty of playing behind closed doors as his side progressed to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round last night.
A hard-fought victory on penalties against Hornchurch FC sees the Beavers into the next round, but McCann wanted to see more from his side.
Hornchurch scored either side of halftime after a stunning long-range effort from Christian Smith had put Hampton ahead, but striker Niko Muir kept the Beavers in it with a calm finish in the 86th minute to make it 2-2.
Each side missed one of their first four penalties during the shootout before Hampton goalkeeper Alan Julian saved the decisive spot-kick and sent the Beavers into the next round.
McCann said: “I can’t tell you how difficult it’s been, how challenging it is going to be and has been playing behind closed doors with no crowd participation and no crowd interaction.
“It’s just the lack of emotion and lack passion on the terraces.
“It’s really tough playing behind closed doors for everyone, we miss the fans more than they’d ever know. We really are feeling it without them there.
“We’ve just had four games in ten days which would serve us well but to have no league game this Saturday is a little bit of a hindrance to us.
“I’m sure a lot of the players are feeling it in their bodies, but if I asked every one of them, they would prefer to be playing Saturday rather than training.
“Every manager would tell you they’d rather have the job done than it going to the lottery of penalties.
“It was untidy, it was difficult conditions, it was the proverbial FA cup match. There’s no question we didn’t get to the levels we know we can.
“We know we haven’t been as potent as I would like and we haven’t been as efficient as I would have liked, especially in the middle and final thirds.”
McCann did draw positives from Hampton and Richmond’s performance, particularly in the impact of substitute Razzaq Coleman De-Graft, who had struggled to find his feet for the Beavers so far.
“I thought he had a real impact last night.
“In training he has been unplayable at times, but he just hasn’t relayed that to games as well as we would like. We’ve got to try to give him some freedom.
“That was more like the Raz Coleman we’ve seen in training and hopefully this is the kickstart of his Hampton career.”
Coleman De-Graft posed a real threat providing the assist for Niko Muir’s equaliser, and his manager is now looking for the team to iron out the fine details moving forward.
“I think the work-rate, the effort and the willingness are there, it’s just the fine details in the middle and final third.
“Those details are critical, and they take that little bit more time to fall in place.”
The club previously announced that their stadium would be called the Chris Sweet Beveree Stadium after a stadium prize draw to help them financially combat Covid-19.
Featured image credit: @GRTourist