A long disappointing day for the Hammers, match report below:
Buildbase FA Vase Second Round (Saturday 5th December 2020)
With grassroots football returning after the second lockdown, Hamworthy faced a daunting long trip to Aveley in Essex, having also to cope with a 1 pm kick-off. The Isthmian League 3G venue and time slot had been found at short notice by their Essex Senior League hosts after their own stadium had just been shut due to Covid. Clapton's league form before the break had been as poor as the Hammers' had been good. However, in cup football and especially given these strange times, the form book counts for little. Chris Senior took the role of acting manager, with Tim Sills serving a one match suspension.
The Hammers created the goal chance on 3 minutes when the Clapton keeper George Marsh mishandled Eddie Hodge's cross. Dan Cann and Matty Neale both had stabs at the ball, but were unable to force it over the line. Although United were having the better of a scrappy game, it was Clapton who so nearly opened the scoring on 26 minutes. A sudden break prized open the United defence before a robust 20-yard strike rammed the cross bar with Murphy well beaten. Three minutes later, it was the Hammers who thought they had taken the lead. Neale's in-swinging corner from the right sailed straight into the net at the far post, but the referee adjudged that Dan Cann had impeded the keeper. It was the hosts who did open the scoring on 35 minutes. United had been prone to leave space at the back down their left, and this time Clapton made them pay. A breakaway down that side ended with a low cross being tucked in at the far post by Daniel Emovon. The Hammers suffered more heartache on 45 minutes when Max Bucker was controversially sent off. Stretching forward to keep possession, he appeared to have already won the ball before catching the ankle of a Clapton player who had clearly felt the impact. The United bench clearly felt the offence more worthy of no more than a booking, but taking into account the position of the referee and player safety, the decision was understandable. This had been a disappointing half for the Hammers. Although at times their ideas were good, their moves tended to break down too easily after poor passes. The hosts meanwhile appeared happy to concede fouls from safe positions, and then regroup. Hamworthy were also guilty of rarely testing a shaky looking keeper. Something would surely have to change in the second half.
The second period started with a flurry of activity on the United goal, but the Hammers soon started to play much better football.
Six minutes in saw their best move of the match. A fine through ball by Neale set up an equally excellent shot by Munn. This was to be tipped round the post at full stretch by Marsh, whose confidence now seemed to grow as the match progressed. A series of fine saves included one remarkable point-blank stop, to keep out Cann's pinpoint header from Munn's cross. United did however eventually find a way past him on 76 minutes, following a good build up and an Adam Costello cross. Cam Munn's deft near post header, across the face of the goal, found the net off the far post. With the Hammers now deservedly level, all their hard work was cruelly undone three minutes later. Murphy had just made one good save, but from the corner Eleftherios Metso was not picked up. His opportunist low shot from near the penalty spot found the back of the net. The United keeper this time could only get a hand to it. United threw caution into the wind as they battled for the equaliser, but finally ran out of time. The hosts in fact almost grabbed a third on the break, when a low diagonal shot came back off the post. The Hammers can take some comfort from a much improved second half performance. They can at least now focus on a very tight schedule, in the various competitions they have a realistic chance of winning, with the League of course their primary target. We wish Clapton, who put in a determined shift, all the best in the next round.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, D Randall, C Clarke (T Cooper 55), M Buckler, T Rolls, A Costello, E Hodge, (J Beasley 60), L Francis (c), C Munn, D Cann (O Davis 80), M Neale