The Hammers progress to the Semi Finals of the Wessex League Cup. Here's the match report if you didn't catch the live stream:
Hamworthy United v Whitchurch United
Sydenhams League Cup Quarter Final
Saturday 24th April 2021
First team competitive football at last returned to the Specsavers' County Ground, albeit behind closed doors. The Hammers were proudly sitting top of the Wessex Premier League when fixtures were again suspended due to Covid just before the Christmas break. By contrast, their North Hampshire visitors were then looking to pull away from the lower echelons of Wessex Division One. With resumption of the current league campaign now a non-starter, Hamworthy still had a chance of silverware in this associated cup competition, a trophy they had in fact won in 04/05, their inaugural season in the Wessex.
Conditions were sunny but with a crisp wind blowing towards the school end, favouring the Jam Boys in the first half. Although the hosts had more possession, and forced most of the play into the final third, the visitors were proving hard to break down with their keeper Ashley Downs pulling off some good saves.
Among the hosts' half dozen or so first half chances were a deflected shot by Steve Devlin that just missed the right post, and a jinxing run by Eddie Hodge not matched by his final shot which passed meekly wide of the opposite peg. Cam Munn and Dan Cann also came close.
The Hammers were well up on all the games' statistics at the break except the one the one really counted, and would need to put that right after interval.
Half Time 0-0
As is so often the case, Hamworthy moved up a gear after the restart. A breakthrough was looking more and more ominous and it finally came on 53 minutes. Whitchurch keeper Downs' goal kick struggled to reach the halfway line in the high wind. Steve Devlin took the ball on his head and controlled it well before picking up Hodge's run towards the right corner. Hodge beat his man before his exquisite cross to the far side of the goal found Matty Neale. Neale's low cross rebounded back to him off Jam Boys' defender Connor Bloomfield, but the Hammers' man then showed immense skill to juggle the ball from his left to right foot, and then thump it past Downs who had no chance to save.
The hosts duly doubled their lead five minutes later. Neale, just inside the Jam Boys' half, latched onto a poor clearance before running the ball forward. With the visiting defence confused by a clever decoy run, Neale was able to play in Hodge on the inside. Hodge's cross hit a defender, but the ball fell fortuitously to Neale to turn and poke into the bottom right corner of the net, again leaving the keeper helpless.
The Hammers all but put the game to bed with their strike on 68 minutes. Hodge found Munn with a superb outside-of-the foot pass, whose burst into the penalty area was felled by a clumsy challenge. Steve Devlin planted the penalty just inside the right stick and just out of reach of Downs' valiant dive.
Hamworthy, although they remained in control and always looked the hungrier, were unable to add to their tally before the final whistle, but it was job done. The lower ranking Whitchurch outfit gave them a match, but in truth failed to do in the second half what they had done so well in the first, that is to mark tightly and close the Hammers down. Hamworthy now host Premier Division rivals Bashley in the Semi-Final on 11th May, with the added incentive for the victors of meeting Division One opposition in the Final, this being the winners of Bemerton Heath Harlequins and US Portsmouth.
Full Time 3-0
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, D Ecott-Young, C Clarke, S Devlin, D Randall, A Costello, E Hodge (O Davis 75), L Francis, C Munn (J Beasley 75), D Cann (J Filkins 65), M Neale
Here are the goals from the match:
Next up will be a home Semi Final against Bashley on Tuesday 11th May which will still be behind closed doors sadly.