Following on from the goals from Saturday, here is the match report:
Wessex Premier League (Saturday 9th October 2021)
The Hammers, in what is becoming a rare encounter on County Ground territory, knew they would have to convert their games in hand into points to make up the big gap with current leaders Brockenhurst. Their ambitious and well supported visitors had made a disappointing start to the campaign by their usual standards, but always carry a sting in their tail, having had some emphatic wins here in recent years.
The match kicked off in glorious weather and it was clear both teams were up for the win with some lively football being played. An early jinxing run by United's Cam Munn ended with him just overrunning the ball into the hands of AFC stopper Steve Mowthorpe. At the other end, Tommy Scott managed to parry a lethal close-range shot after some neat footwork by George Barker; the ball finally and fortunately bouncing into touch just past the far post. A few minutes later, in a double-chance, Steve Devlin's free kick from near the corner flag bounced back off the bar with the keeper well beaten. A jumping Cam Munn, a yard in front of goal, then just failed to connect when the ball was played back in. In an evenly matched opening period, it was United who opened the scoring on 17 minutes with a well worked goal. Lee Francis played the ball out wide on the left to Jack Lovell. The Hammers' man cut in, before hitting a low hard cross into the six - yard box where following a neat spin Max Wilcock hit the ball low into the net. With play continuing very much end-to-end, it was the Hammers who doubled their advantage on 34 minutes. Royals' defender Owen Roundell, fighting to keep the ball in play, only succeeded in playing it straight into the path of Eddie Hodge. Hodge ran the ball on a few paces, before his exquisite ball across the goal was gently but decisively nudged over the line by Jack Lovell. Five minutes later even the AFC players looked distraught when Cam Munn, who had so lit up the game, had to be stretchered off. This was after badly injuring his ankle in a completely accidental clash of legs. This was after beating Adam Tomasso to a loose ball with both players at full throttle. He was immediately taken to hospital for X-Rays; where it was found that he had not broken his ankle, but had severely damaged the ligaments and soft tissue. When play did resume, Tommy Scott soon produced his second fine save, again from Barker. This time fisting his fierce drive high into the air and over the bar. Despite the one dark cloud, this had been an entertaining first half at both ends, and in no way could the Hammers feel the game was won without the comfort of a third goal.
It was the Royals who started the better after the break with some good movement which put United under pressure. This forced the Hammers into some resolute defending, with Connor Cocklin and Tony Rolls amongst others rising to the occasion. There was always a fear that a Portchester goal would launch them back into the match, so it was with some relief when the hosts managed to net for a third time on 80 minutes, with another class move. Against the run of play, Steve Devlin's long ball from defence, down the left of the pitch, brushed off a defender's head before finding Max Wilcock in space. When Wilcock finally pulled the trigger, the ball rebounded off the keeper and then, to the delight of the Hammers' camp, looped into the net just inside the far post. The visitors did not give up, and when Tommy Scott was finally beaten by Lee Wort in injury time; Harvey Wright was there to clear the ball off the line and preserve his clean sheet.
This hard grafted win pushed the Hammers up to sixth place, now the only unbeaten side in the League. The Royals proved to be tough opponents and will no doubt play worse and win.
Hamworthy United: T Scott, D Eccott-Young, C Clarke (H Wright 65), S Devlin, T Rolls, C Cocklin, E Hodge (J Beasley 80), L Francis (c), C Munn (M Buckler 40), M Wilcock, J Lovell Unused Subs: B Walker, S Murphy