Latest report on the Hammers latest Wessex League match:
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 26th September 2020)
Although the campaign is still in its infancy, both clubs had made encouraging starts, with neither team having tasted defeat in the league. The hosts had also heavily defeated Portland 8-1 at their PMC Stadium two weeks earlier, so Hamworthy knew that they would have a tough game on their hands. United's bench included Sam Chilman on his first competitive outing, since receiving international clearance following a spell in America. Jamie Beasley was also making his first league start since returning from Portland.
The Baffins' pitch, notorious for being flooded late on in the season, was in perfect condition for this game, and the Hammers came so close to capitalising on it in the first minute with some fine football that so nearly paid dividends. Dan Cann's splendid through ball put Eddie Hodge one-on-one with home stopper Charlie Searle. However, the keeper came out well, made himself big, and forced Hodge to dink the ball just wide of the far post. That miss in many ways was to set the tone of the first half. United were very effective in their build-ups, but were just unable to finish when the goal was at their mercy. In fact, they were unable to work Searle into making any serious saves. The best of those chances fell to Cann on 11 minutes, but his shot was blocked by a defender for a corner. Baffins meanwhile were finding it hard to get past a very well marshalled Hamworthy defence. Despite however having much less sight of goal, they did twice manage to work Shane Murphy. On 26 minutes, a fine through ball picked up the run Rudi Blankson whose ferocious shot to the near post was well beaten out by the United keeper. Then, on 44 minutes, a deft back-header set up a golden chance for Nathan Kirby. Helped by dogged defending by Max Buckler, Murphy finally claimed the ball, but not before jarring his knee in a brave tussle with his opponent. Fortunately, Murphy was able to continue after treatment. The Hammers, would have the strong wind in their favour in the second half, so certainly knew that three points were there for the taking. However, they must have also known they would have to be much more clinical in front of goal.
Ironically for Hamworthy, having missed so many chances of their own in the first half; it needed a Baffins' man to open their account on 49 minutes. After a good advantage played by the referee, Hodge put in what seemed no more than a hopeful low cross from the right. Josh Warren however, in attempting to clear, sliced the ball high and wide past his keeper, and into the net. Not for the first time this season, an early second half goal breathed fire into United's attack, and a minute later a high stinging effort from Cann on the bounce was well stopped by Searle. The Hammers remained in control and duly doubled their lead on 59 minutes. Tony Rolls won a good tackle just inside the Baffins' half. The ball broke kindly to Cann, and he in turn picked out Beasley's run down the left. Beasley's low cross, via a neat dummy by Cann, was then slammed into the bottom left corner of the net from six yards by Eddie Hodge. A now rampant United netted a third on 64 minutes. Following a push on Cann, Matty Neale's floated in a free kick, from some thirty yards out. This was met by Adam Costello who rose high above his defender to head the ball high into the right corner of the net with some with aplomb. It was no surprise when the Hammers bagged their fourth on 71 minutes. Cann saw a fierce low shot rebound off Charlie Williamson, only for Eddie Hodge to rifle the ball into the net from ten yards. Although Hamworthy did then take their foot of the gas a little until the final whistle, they were still making decent chances and might have added another before the end. Baffins meanwhile did not give up, but appeared to be driven now more by their own agitation, but were looking a little bereft of actual ideas.
This was another all-round very solid performance by Hamworthy, the healthy competition for places motivating each player to produce that little bit extra to keep the shirt. The result enabled them to leapfrog their opponents into a very satisfactory fourth place, with games in hand.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, D Randall, C Clarke, M Buckler, T Rolls, A Costello, J Beasley (J King 60), L Francis (c) (J Filkins 75), E Hodge, D Cann, M Neale (S Chilman 65)
Unused Subs: O Davis, T Rees