The Hammer's made it 18 undefeated during the week but a much tougher affair awaited them for their latest trip to PO land.
Baffins Milton Rovers 2 Hamworthy United 1
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 4th December 2021)
Hamworthy's unbeaten league start to the season faced a big test at a bitterly cold PMC Stadium. The Rovers themselves had made a very solid start to the campaign, and were looking for a third straight league win. The recent history though would be on United's side, having twice overcome their hosts 4-0 last "season".
With neither team able to get into any sort flow in a scrappy opening, it was no surprise that it took a fluke goal to break the deadlock on ten minutes. Not that United would complain. Eddie Hodge slipped a neat ball down the right channel into the path of Cam Munn. Munn's low cross then somehow diverted off the boot of home defender Lee Molyneaux, before looping high into the far corner of the net, giving the Hammers the early advantage. United were now starting to look the more settled of the two teams. On the half hour mark a good move deserved a better outcome. Sam Lanahan on the turn swept out a perfect ball into the path of Jamie Beasley out on the left-wing. A trademark Beasley cross set up a glorious opportunity for Max Willcock, but the United man's hasty shot finished well wide of the target. The hosts however were always a threat, and were to level matters on 34 minutes following a spot of pin-ball. Shane Murphy was only able to parry downwards a shot from Ethan Gee who had cut in from the left. The United keeper then blocked Rudi Blankson's follow up, before hit number three was blocked by Harvey Wright. Harry Sargeant finally forced the ball over the line to score. Just three minutes later the hosts had managed to turn the game around with a goal of high quality. Rudi Blankson had already skipped past the challenge of Connor Cocklin whilst running a bouncing ball down the right-side of the pitch. The angle that the Baffin man had left for his finish was not the easiest. However, the pace of the shot into the nearside roof of the net gave Murphy no chance to save. Murphy then prevented further damage by making another good save from Blankson, after being set up nicely by Gee; who had won the ball near the corner flag. With the Hammers' defence now appearing to lack its usual solidness, the hosts were progressively looking more confident. United knew there was a lot of work to be done in the second half to save the match.
United had more woes to contend with during the break. Having received a knock Adam Costello was unable to continue, and had to follow Jamie Beasley in making a premature exit from the game. The Hammers though still worked tooth and nail throughout the second period against some deep defending, but the ball seemed destined not to enter the net. A foul on Jack Lovell was controversially deemed to have been just outside the edge of the area, but Munn's shot was charged down. Another hard driven effort from Munn was well held on to by the home keeper Konrad Szymaniak, who was having a fine game. He also did well to hold on to a number of dangerous crosses. The ball would just not find the Baffin net in a couple of late hectic scrambles, with Szymaniak again making another fine stop at the death. The Rovers had still broken away in spurts, and ironically the one time the ball did find the net was at the United end. However, Gee's glancing header from Billy Connor's cross was deemed offside. At the end the Rovers rightly celebrated as the club that finally defeated United in the league this season. That run had to end at some point of course, and the release of pressure could be a blessing. All the players that contributed have done the club proud. We will move on, with the League and two Cups still very much there to play for.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, H Wright, C Clarke, S Lanahan (D Eccott-Young 65), C Cocklin, A Costello (B Walker HT), E Hodge, L Francis (c), M Wilcock, C Munn, J Beasley (J Lovell 40)
Unused Subs: D Randall