The FA Vase started for the Hammers this week. Past performances meant we were exempt until the 1st Round. Report follows:
Buildbase FA Vase First Round Proper (Saturday 31st October 2020)
Table toppers and in form Hamworthy had to start as Favourites in this cup tie. Ilfracombe though had not made a bad start themselves in their own Kitchen Kit South West Peninsular Premier League (East). This is one level below that of the Hammers. They had collected seven wins and one draw from their nine games played. United's double hat-trick hero from their last two games, Cam Munn, was unavailable for this one, having to self-isolate. However, with other players returning, United were still able to field a strong starting eleven, and bench. For Hammers' captain Lee Francis it was a chance to reunite with some of his old team mates, having played for the Bluebirds for three seasons some years ago.
A decent crowd of 152 saw the hosts make a strong start to the game; Jamie Beasley soon cut inside to fire Matty Neale's precise though ball just over the bar. It was perhaps fitting though that Lee Francis should open the scoring on 7 minutes. Following a throw in, Neale under some pressure picked out Beasley lying square of him. His deft lay back saw Francis hit a low 20-yard effort that beat the dive of the Town stopper Steve Oliver and found the net just inside his left post. A few minutes later Neale, who was free at the far post, somehow headed Eddie Hodge's pinpoint cross over the bar. At the other end, it needed a very well-timed tackle by Max Buckler to halt the run of Ollie Stevens, who otherwise was through on goal. United doubled their lead on 27 minutes following another good move. Shane Murphy's long free kick was headed on by Beasley into the path of Francis. His looping cross over the keeper, found Dan Cann unmarked and standing just a yard out to simply head the ball into an empty net. After Oliver had saved well from Hodge, the Hammers added a third on 35 minutes. A loose ball was strongly shielded by Cann from a defender which allowed it to fall straight into the path of Eddie Hodge. Hodge then beat two defenders before striking the ball home just inside the left post. United still kept their foot on the pedal. Cann saw another headed "goal" ruled offside, before just failing to reach another cross by Hodge. Hamworthy were well worth their three-goal interval lead, with the Bluebirds still not having been able to produce a shot of any note.
The visitors did emerge from the break with a bit more guile; a scintillating effort from Will Berry finished just a foot wide of the far post, with Shane Murphy the United keeper only able to watch. Normal service though soon resumed for United on 57 minutes. Adam Costello, inside his own half, threaded a superb long ball forward to pick up Matty Neale's run. Neale still had plenty of work to do though if he was to score, but after brilliantly rounding the keeper on the outside and then a defender on the inside, he was able to turn and fire the ball into the vacant net from six yards. The hosts soon almost made it five in a missed double chance. Following good interchange with Neale, Hodge's cross was just too high for Cann’s jumping header which none-the-less helped the ball towards Beasley on the other side. Beasley's return cross was met by Jamie Filkins' deft back header which just cleared the far post. The Hammers, although in complete control, were unable to add to their score before the final whistle. In the best of the action, Costello saw his downwards header from Beasley's corner bounce just wide. Young substitute Christie Ward again made his mark latching onto Neale's long header forward, then beating a defender before seeing his low diagonal shot very well turned round the post by the impressive Oliver.
Despite their heavy defeat, the Bluebirds could not have asked for any more. Even their own supporters admitted that their team had simply been outclassed. On this form, no team will fancy meeting the Hammers in Round Two.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, J Filkins, D Randall, M Buckler, C Cocklin, A Costello, E Hodge (C Ward 75), L Francis (c), M Neale (T Cooper 75), D Cann (O Davis 70), J Beasley
Unused Subs: R Hall (gkp), C Clarke, T Rolls