Another big match on Saturday with AFC Stoneham the visitors. Here's the match report:
Hamworthy United 1 AFC Stoneham 0
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 8th January 2022)
Hamworthy were hoping to make it three league wins in a row and pull level with leaders Horndean who were without a game, on points. Their Eastleigh based visitors were also going well, and were by no means not out of the title frame themselves. In what will surely be a demanding second half of the campaign, United were relieved to welcome back boss Tim Sills to the dugout, with Matt Neale and Adam Costello making the bench after injury.
Just as in the previous home game against Brockenhurst, the match started in bearable conditions, but got much worse as the game progressed. The hosts had slightly the better of an uninspiring opening, which was only notable for two good catches by Stoneham’s keeper Tom Parker-Trott. All that changed however on 24 minutes. A trademark Jamie Beasley free-kick that curled towards the far post was nudged into touch by Ronan Galloway, sensing Connor Cocklin was about to pounce. Beasley's resultant corner from the right was put right into the danger area, and was superbly headed into the net off the underside of the bar by Billy Walker. A minute later, the hosts almost doubled their lead following a fine move. Walker's long ball down the right channel found Beasley, who then laid the ball diagonally back into the path of Lee Francis. The United captain's first time shot beat the keeper, but was brilliantly cleared off the line by Tommy Barnes. The Purps were temporarily down to ten men after Jamie Bulpitt was ordered to the sin-bin in the 36th minute. United were now dominant, but were unable to make their numerical advantage count. However, they probably deserved their slender lead at the half time whistle. After an even opening, the Hammers seemed to have adapted better to the progressively worsening elements. They also had taken one of the very few chances that came their way, with the visitors yet to really trouble Shane Murphy.
With the rain now plummeting down, the hosts were soon putting Stoneham under more pressure. A Beasley corner from the left was cleared only as far as Harvey Wright out on the right. Wright's articulate looping ball found Jack Lovell whose right near post shot was well beaten out by Parker-Trott. At the other end, it needed a spectacular overhead kick off the line by Connor Cocklin to deny Callum Laycock. As the game now livened up Murphy got down well to gather a Scott Hills' effort at his near post. With the Purps having their best period of the match, United could never feel comfortable without that second goal. That so nearly came on 72 minutes, only for Parker-Trott to produce another excellent diving save to keep out Cam Munn's powerful close-range header from Beasley's cross. With the rain abating in the final stages of the match, the Hammers did regain some control. However, the visitors still remained a threat, and the Stoneham keeper continued to have a fine game. It was particularly satisfying to see Matt Neale looking so sharp on his return. United's best remaining chance came late on when Mickey Finch was just unable to get a connection at the far post to Jamie Filkins' low cross. Despite some further very late Stoneham pressure, United probably just deserved the win. As in the Brockenhurst game, their tall and well marshalled defence had prevented very little getting through to Shane Murphy, and once again against undoubtedly tough opponents. At the other end, they had also taken their chance when it came. The result means that the Hammers are now back level on points with Horndean with a game in hand, but they still have to meet twice in what will be critical games. The first of these will be at Five Heads Park in two weeks’ time.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, T Rolls, H Wright, D Eccott-Young, C Cocklin, B Walker, J Lovell (M Finch 85), L Francis (c), M Wilcock, C Munn (J Filkins 85), J Beasley (M Neale 75)
Unused Subs: A Costello