What a great afternoon (and evening) for all the Hamworthy players, Management and Officials!
Hamworthy United 3 US Portsmouth 1 (at AFC Portchester)
Sydenhams League Cup Final (Saturday 22nd May 2021)
The Hammers had battled through all of five rounds to reach this prestigious cup final. This was a competition they won in 2005, and were also beaten finalists in 2009. Playing for United on that second occasion was Tom Jeffes but, twelve years on and with a little less hair, was today skippering US Portsmouth. Our opponents, aiming to be the first ever Division One holders of this trophy, also deserve great credit for a remarkable FA Vase run which took them to within one game of Wembley. A fairly vociferous crowd were clearly keen to make up for lost time.
Once the action started, the fanciful electric scoreboard had only moved on four minutes when Cam Munn was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Steve Devlin then continued where he left off in the semi-final, his left foot belter finding the bottom right-hand corner to give the Hammers an early lead. United soon doubled their advantage on 14 minutes when, following a neat flowing move, Matty Neale cut the ball back for Eddie Hodge to tuck home just inside the far post. With half time approaching the U.S. stopper Tom Price saved well with his closed legs to deny Matty Neale following good work by Dan Cann. The Hammers were well worth their two-goal interval lead, playing plenty of attractive football. Their back line was always in complete control with Shane Murphy yet having to make a single save of note. Although his opposite number Price had himself not had too much to do, he could do little about the two shots that beat him.
US Portsmouth did manage to up their game a little after the interval. Murphy was called into his first save ten minutes in, ably tipping Sonny Harnett-Balkwill's close-range header over the bar. A few Hamworthy hearts must have started to flutter however, when the United Services’ men managed to pull a goal back on 70 minutes. James Franklyn seized onto a loose ball ten yards out and managed to fire home, via a deflection, in the gap between Shane Murphy and the left post. With another couple of U.S. efforts not missing by much, the Hammers, so often a second half team, were now looking to rely on their first half performance to win the match. Hamworthy did though restore their tempo late on. For the second time in the match Price saved well off his legs to thwart Neale's skilfully self-created chance. United finally made the game almost safe on 85 minutes. Eddie Hodge's initial shot was well parried by Price. The ball however was not cleared and spun out to substitute Ollie Davis on the edge of the penalty area, who then cut in a few paces. Davis's final effort took a wicked deflection, ironically off ex-Hammer Tom Jeffes, to nestle in the left corner of the net and rightly send the Hammers' players and fans into frenzy.
Hamworthy almost made it four when Davis again was caught just offside as he was about to shoot into an unguarded goal. They thoroughly deserved the win over the 90 minutes, sound at the back, taking their chances when they came, and used the long ball well. Tim Sills and all his squad are to be firmly congratulated on their new silverware, although the mind boggles of how their league campaign would have panned out but for the untimely Covid suspension. US Portsmouth have also served their town well, enduring two very long cup runs, and will surely bounce back.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, D Randall, C Clarke, S Devlin, T Rolls, A Costello, E Hodge, L Francis (c) (M Buckler 65) , C Munn (O Davis 60), D Cann, M Neale (D Ecott-Young 90)