The Hammers travelled again for their 5th match in this season's FA Cup, here's the report:
Cirencester Town 3 Hamworthy United 1
Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round (Saturday 18th September 2021)
A Hammers' win would create club history for their longest ever run in this renowned competition. After traffic diversions had left them with a very short preparation time before kick-off, and having only a ten-minute break on route; they now faced a team going very well in their more senior Southern League Division One South. With some previously established players back in contention after injury, Tim Sills' team selection was not easy.
It was United who started the livelier of the two teams and created some decent early chances. The best of these saw Connor Cocklin's dangerous header from Steve Devlin's corner pushed over the bar by Town stopper Alex Harris. However, it was the Centurions who so nearly opened the scoring when a rasping shot from Ben Whitehead was pushed onto the post and into touch by an alert Shane Murphy. The Hammers deservedly took the lead on 24 minutes. Eddie Hodge outpaced his defender in a superb run down the left flank, before his low cross was slipped into the net by Matt Neale. Unfortunately, the lead only lasted three minutes. In a Town break down the left, a high ball was misjudged by Harvey Wright who allowed the ball to drop behind him. This allowed Levi Irving the time and space to pick out the unmarked Josh Parsons. The Cirencester play-maker who later went on to give a stand-out performance, directed the ball under the legs of Shane Murphy and just inside the far post. It took only a further two minutes for the hosts to turn the game around. With United's defence still looking unsettled after the goal; a diagonal pass found Joe Shepperd on the right-hand of the goal. His lethal first-time strike left Murphy helpless with the ball finding the net just inside the far post. The Hammers were denied strong claims for a penalty when Jake Lovell was cynically fouled as he went on one of his characteristic runs into the box. The referee, however, after further discussion with his assistant, only awarded a free kick bang on the white line. The half time whistle came with the Centurions starting to get on top, but it was certainly United who had looked the better side until they scored. It may have been a case that that goal came just that bit too early for their own good, jerking the Town into action while simultaneously causing the Hammers to switch off somewhat.
Although United gave it all they had after the break, the Centurions were generally in control, stifling the Hammers' midfield and preventing their normal game. In an early spell of Town pressure, Crit Clarke epitomised United's spirit, playing on after suffering a nasty knock following a brave piece of defending. The Hammers still had their moments though. In possibly their best move of the half, Devlin's free kick was nodded back by Cocklin into the path of Max Wilcock who could only direct his shot a yard wide of the post. The Hammers' job became that much harder when they conceded again on 67 minutes. A fine run and pass by Ben Whitehead found Levi Irving, who managed to thump the ball between Murphy and his near post. Such was the venom on the shot that no blame could be attached to the keeper. United still refused to buckle. After another strong penalty appeal was turned down, this time for a hand-ball, a good run by Lovell ended with his far post effort being well pushed out by the keeper. The Town had always been a threat throughout the half from their numerous crosses, which almost produced another goal late on when Ross Gabriele's header was very well kept out by Murphy. When the final whistle came, United could hold their heads high. Even the Cirencester manager said it had been one of their toughest games of the season and felt the Hammers could hold their own at their level. The Hammers playing against a team better on the day than Merthyr know that they can more than hold their own at this level.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, H Wright (T Rolls 65), C Clarke, S Devlin (C Munn 70), C Cocklin, A Costello, E Hodge, L Francis (c), M Wilcock, M Neale, J Lovell. Unused Subs; J. Filkins, D. Eccott-Young