IT was a night when the youth of Aldershot Town shone. Players and coach combined superbly to give Shots their first points in four games.
With eight potential first teamers on the injury list before kick off, the Shots could have slumped to their fourth successive league defeat, but youth players Nick Sowden, Jamie Taylor, Brett Cooper and Michael Harper and their coach Martin Kuhl, had other ideas.
Talented Sowden made a superb debut start for the club, making an immediate impact on a tough game.
And boss Terry Brown, no doubt concerned before the game, will be sleeping more soundly in his bed, safe in the knowledge that when called upon these boys can do the job.
"I was very pleased with the young and the old. The amount of injuries we had meant we had to juggle the side around.
"Considering the amount of changes we had, especially at the back, I was pleased with the way they applied themselves and with the result. It's lovely that we have got quality youngsters coming through.
"Martin Kuhl did a wonderful job for us and was instrumental in two of the goals. Nick Sowden made a good debut and Jamie Taylor caused them a great deal of problems up front."
But things got worse before they got better. Just two minutes into the game Anthony Charles went down under a strong challenge and after trying to limp on with play he was replaced by Kuhl on 14 minutes.
"Of all the people to go down, apart from Nicky Bull, I could ill-afford Anthony Charles to go down," said Brown. "Effectively it meant we were without our four main centre halves."
But Kuhl's experience and presence shone straight away and it was the midfielder-cum-defender himself who opened the scoring on 24 minutes.
A John Nutter corner went deep and Kuhl was on hand at the far side of the box to head powerfully past Andrew Iga in the Hampton goal.
The home side enjoyed a large amount of possession throughout and the hard hitting Ashley Sestanovich and ex-Farnborough Town man Lee Riddell both went close with long range shots that tested Bull on a number of occasions.
At the other end Paul Moody volleyed just wide on 34 minutes and after cutting inside the box Nutter sent his shot the same way.
Although Hampton, managed by former Shots legend Ian McDonald, enjoyed a large share of possession, the Shots always looked in control and they went two up five minutes before the break — Taylor sending a superb left footed shot straight into the bottom right corner, leaving Iga with no chance.
Sowden then made a great run across the box in the last minute of the half, but his shot went just wide.
Hampton came out after the break firing on all cylinders, but Shots still looked dominant and began to exploit the weaknesses in the home defence. On 66 minutes, however, it was Hampton who treated the 705 assembled fans to a goal.
A strong run by Sestanovich from deep in his own half saw him reach the edge of the Shots area unchallenged. He sent a good ball in and Dave Corrie laid on for Riddell to slide into the bottom corner.
Sestanovich then hit the crossbar as Hampton dominated the opening exchanges. But Shots were soon back on top and another youth player Michael Harper — on for Moody on 64 minutes — was soon making his mark. He fired just wide of the left upright from a Nutter free-kick out on the right.
It took 86 minutes before Shots finally wrapped up the game and again Kuhl was in the thick of it. Another Nutter corner was headed down by Kuhl for Adam Parker to knock into the back of the net from close range for his first goal of the season.
Harper again went close to getting on the scoresheet in the final minute, when he was unlucky to see his powerful shot soar through the crowd of defenders but hit the wrong side of the netting.
SHOTS: Bull; Sowden (sub Cooper 87 mins), Chewins, Holsgrove, Nutter, A Charles (Kuhl 14), Roddis, Taylor, Moody (Harper 64), Parker, Buckle. Not used: Carroll, Sterling.