After the midweek heroics, back to Wessex League action, here's the report:
Hamworthy United 5 US Portsmouth 0
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 11th September 2021)
Before this game, Hamworthy's remarkable and still ongoing FA Cup run had created a backlog in their League fixtures. This left them in 7th position at start of play; despite having dropped only two points in 4 games. Newly promoted US Portsmouth had undergone a massive turnover of the side that will be long remembered for its two enduring (if ultimately unsuccessful) cup runs last year. Despite that, they were sitting comfortably in mid-table. United started with the same eleven that performed so heroically in their midweek FA Cup match, with fit again Cam Munn making the bench.
The hosts were off the mark with only two minutes on the clock. Although United were not in complete control of the ball out on the left, Jack Lovell was able to lay the ball back to Matt Neale. Neale decided to take aim, his long diagonal effort just beating the dive of the United Services stopper Damian Kelsall, before nestling just inside the right post. The Hammers continued to create many good chances, and doubled their advantage on 22 minutes. Following a neat bit of play that emanated from Lee Francis's free kick; Jack Lovell's low cross from the left was scuffed goalward by Neale, but apparently it was Eddie Hodge who got the final touch before the ball crossed the line. Hamworthy continued to dictate play, and made it three on the stroke of half-time. Matt Wilcock struck home Hodge's low cross, that followed good work by Neale and Francis. This had been a very good half for the Hammers that was played almost entirely in the US Portsmouth half. The visitors on the other hand were forced to defend deep in numbers. The hosts should have been more goals to the good, but were perhaps guilty at times of taking too many touches in the box. Keeper Shane Murphy had been little more than a spectator.
The second period continued in much the same manner. The beleaguered US Portsmouth keeper Kelsall soon earned himself credit with a fine save from Lovell. Following a rare break United Services won a corner that was headed just wide by the half time substitute centre back; who should have scored. Hamworthy netted for the fourth time on 63 minutes, after Hodge had played a good ball across to Matt Neale on the left. In almost a repeat of the first goal, he managed to squeeze the ball in at the far post although this time the United Services keeper, having got a good hand to it, may have felt disappointed not to keep it out. United continued to keep Kelsall busy, and he did very well to get down and hold onto a strong Harvey Wright effort following another good ball from Hodge. It took however until the 83rd minute for Hamworthy to add to their tally. Some neat criss-cross play between Harvey Wright and Crit Clarke ended with substitute Cam Munn marking his return by toe-poking the ball home from close range, just ahead of the keeper. It was not until the very last kick of the game that the visitors for only the second time in the match came close to scoring. A long looping effort by Joe Johnson, chasing a through ball; rebounded back off the bar.
This well merited win pushed United up one place to sixth in the League, but also equal top on PPG (points per game) basis. Of course, they will have bigger fish to fry next weekend at Cirencester Town in the FA Cup. However, their current propensity to bang in goals one end and keep clean sheets the other will do their confidence no harm.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, H Wright, C Clarke, S Devlin, C Cocklin, B Walker, E Hodge, L Francis (c) (M Buckler 70), M Wilcock (J Filkins 75), M Neale (C Munn 65), J Lovell
Unused Subs: D Eccott-Young, A Costello