The start of another string of away games began at Victoria Park on Tuesday, here's the report:
Bournemouth 1 Hamworthy United 2
Wessex Premier League (Tuesday 12th October 2021)
Sixth placed, still unbeaten and with the best defensive record in the League; the Hammers were hoping to close the big gap with leaders Brockenhurst, who had no mid-week fixture. Local-derby opponents Poppies are managed by ex-Hammer Phil Brown, and also needed the points to pull away from the lower regions of the table. With United games coming thick and fast, and several players resting knocks or are unavailable, Tim Sills made a few changes to Saturday's winning team, with James King welcomed back to the bench.
Hamworthy started much the stronger of the two teams, and with only three minutes on the clock had their noses in front. Billy Walker's bouncing through ball split the Poppies' defence, and allowed Matt Wilcock to loop the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net and out of the reach of Bournemouth stopper Harrison Guscott. The visitors continued to press, and they were awarded a penalty midway through the half when Drew Eccott-Young was bundled over in the box. This was after he had been set up by Tony Rolls’s neat ball down the right channel. Jack Lovell fired low and hard to the keeper's right, but the impressive Guscott had anticipated correctly. He diverted the ball upwards off his legs, before grabbing it as it almost crossed the line. On the half hour after picking up Eccott-Young’s short pass Wilcock could only nudge the ball against the post. Poppies' first shot on target finally arrived on 40 minutes, but Sami Garcia's long free kick was easily read by Tommy Scott diving to his right. Then, on the stroke of half-time, Guscott again did very well to scoop away Wilcock's far post effort following a long cross by Eddie Hodge. At the other end, a Poppies' volley at the back post then went just wide. Although the Hammers were not quite on song, they would certainly have wondered at half time how they had not managed to kill the game off with all the chances created. Bournemouth had relied more on the long hopeful ball, but United's back line as usual gave little away.
Ironically, it needed a gift for the Hammers to eventually double their lead seven minutes into the second-half. With Bournemouth routinely playing the ball out of the defence starting from the keeper, Lee Francis, just outside the "D", intercepted an under-hit pass. His instinctive low drive found the net just inside the left post, with the keeper out of position and just failing to scramble across in time. Soon after, substitute Matt Neale almost made it three as his exquisite free kick from 25 yards agonisingly hit the bar before bouncing down just in front of the line and back to safety. The Poppies, to their credit, started to push men forward in the latter stages, and stunned United on 85 minutes. Nil Canadell got on the end of a well worked move to fire home from close range just inside the far post. Three minutes later United again squandered the chance to put the game to bed. Matt Neal was held back in the box, but Billy Walker's penalty was again foiled by the legs of Guscott. Then, in injury time Hamworthy had two further chances. Following a jinxing run and shot; Neale’s effort was cleared off the line, but James King could only screw his shot wide off the far post. With two missed penalties and twice hitting the woodwork, United had certainly made hard work of this narrow win. However, a win is a win and it sees the Hammers climb up to fourth place in the table; 8 points behind leaders Brockenhurst, but with 4 games in hand. Poppies deserve credit for never giving up and coming back at United in the latter stages, that might easily have caused an upset.
Hamworthy United: T Scott, T Rolls, H Wright, M Buckler, B Walker, A Costello, D Eccott-Young, L Francis (c), M Wilcock (J King 65), E Hodge (M Neale 60), J Lovell
Unused Subs: C Clarke