The games keep on coming. Latest match report from Tony and Roger:
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 19th December 2020)
The Watersiders would surely be one of a very few number of teams capable of pegging United's charge at the top of the table. Regular league opponents of United until their own recent meteoric two-step rise to Southern Premier football, the Solent based outfit elected in the Summer break, for whatever reason, to return to their Wessex roots. This was despite a fairly comfortable first "season" at that level.
United boss Tim Sills again rotated a few faces after Tuesday's success, leaving some of the squad perhaps feeling a little unlucky not to start. Meanwhile Blackfield fielded four ex-Hammers, including their player manager Fawzi Saadi, who was one of Tim Sills' first United signings last term.
Despite the gloomy wet conditions both teams dug in, with the visitors just shading possession, and with it created a couple of early half-chances. However some solid defending at the back, especially by Connor Cocklin, prevented any real danger. It was Hamworthy however who managed the breakthrough on 20 minutes. Eddie Hodge out on the right threaded the ball forward to Cam Munn, who in turn managed to find captain Lee Francis who tucked the ball home from just outside the six-yard box. The Hammers were now taking control and doubled their lead on 34 minutes. This was from another dangerous corner by Steve Devlin which was powerfully headed into the net by Adam Costello from a yard out. United gave themselves breathing space with yet another goal in the 39th minute. Devlin's long diagonal free kick from the right was again bang on the money, the power of Connor Cocklin's towering header beating visiting stopper Joe Besant inside his far post. The hosts almost added another on the stroke of half time, but following a good move, a rocket of a shot from Francis hit the back stanchion.
The hosts' scoring spree continued after the break on 50 minutes, although perhaps this time with a little luck. Hodge had already jinxed his way past a couple of defenders on the right but, in attempting to clear his teasing cross, visiting captain Jim Orvis only succeeded in gliding the ball inside his own far post. A few minutes later Shane Murphy was called into his first serious save, pushing out Fatah Makhloufi's strong effort at his near post. He was then relieved to see Luke Gray's effort just clear the bar following his poor clearance kick. At the other end United were now creating chance after chance, and their hold on the game soon became even tighter. On 63 minutes Ali Zintani received his marching orders after first appearing to deliberately handle a cross, and then, whilst grounded, seemed to kick out at Declan Randall, probably the more deciding incident of the two. The dominant Hammers grabbed their next goal in the 76th minute. Following a long ball across the pitch from Dan Cann; good work by substitute Bailey Rowe ended with dangerous low cross. This took out the keeper and a couple of defenders, before finding Matty Neale who duly tucked the ball into the gaping net. Rowe himself made it six on 79 minutes, but no small credit must go to Neale for his determination in first winning possession and then running the ball through from his own half. He then superbly fed in Bailey Rowe who found the left corner of the net despite the keeper getting a good touch. Murphy had just done enough to force clean through River Smith to shoot just wide, before Matty Neale completed the rout in the 89th minute, firing the ball into the net from distance off the far post. The final goal tally could have been even more but for numerous near misses and some good saves by Besant. The now 50 goal Hammers simply got better as the game progressed. No one connected with the club could have forecast this result against a team in 5th place at start of play, with 4 wins from their last 6. This was proud day for the club.