The dust has now settled after the weekend's game, time for a match summary from our reporter:
The Emirates F.A. Cup Preliminary Round (Saturday 12th September 2020)
Hamworthy, despite their promising start to the season, were always going to be up against it in their first ever meeting with their North Hampshire hosts, who play two levels higher in the Southern Premier League. "The Row" were themselves in good fettle, having just seen off the full-time footballers of National League side Eastleigh, their third successive "friendly" win.
A large crowd of 299 was present to see their first competitive game since March 7th. Once the action started, both teams were able to create decent early chances, with little to suggest the gulf in leagues. United's Matty Neale put an early effort just over, before Joe Gater for the hosts saw his powerful far post header from a corner just clear the bar. A well measured through ball set up a good chance for Mitchell Parker who, having got the better of Declan Randall, fired just wide of the near post. Hamworthy were then on top for a period, and so nearly opened the scoring on 22 minutes. Matty Neales's out swinging corner from the left found Eddie Hodge in space on the far corner of the penalty area. Hodge took aim to the far post and caught the ball well, before a deflection took it agonizingly a foot wide. The game was to take a major and dramatic turn on 38 minutes. As Cam Munn attempted to claim the ball to take a quick Hamworthy throw, the action of one of the Wintney management team triggered a mass brawl involving both sets of players and management. After it had finally subsided, the referee assessed the situation with his assistant, and, to the complete surprise of the United camp, showed a red card to Munn. The offending Wintney official, and, a little later, our own Sean Leadbetter (for something said - but not foul language) also received the same punishment. Hartley Wintney now started to take control. Fortunately, the commotion had not affected Hamworthy stopper Shane Murphy, who somehow fisted a scorcher from Dean Stow high into the air. The threat was not over though, Declan Randall's brave headed clearance rebounded back off his own bar, before being fired well over. In almost the last action of the half Murphy again got down well to gather a pacey and tricky shot from Josh Webb at the second attempt.
The high tempo continued after the break; Murphy was again quickly called into action. The hosts were now looking the more likely to break the deadlock, and eventually scored a scrappy goal in 56th minute. The Hammers failed to clear their lines from a corner, and with the ball bobbling around, Ben Wright was in the right place to force the ball over the line. Hartley Wintney remained in control from that point, but Hamworthy, to their credit, still tried to play good football at times from the back. However, with a man down, finding a route to goal was never going to be easy. Their best attempt came on 83 minutes when substitute Crit Clarke threaded a perfect ball through to Hodge, who went to ground under Bird's challenge while preparing to shoot. The line official raised and then lowered his flag, and United's appeals for a penalty were in vain. In fairness to the referee, it did appear to some people to be more an accidental clash of legs. On 86 minutes, Murphy again excelled, getting a faint touch to push Mitchell Parker's far post effort out for a corner. In injury time, Connor Cocklin then became United's third red card casualty, receiving a second yellow for what the referee controversially adjudged to be an illegal use of the arm on contesting a high ball. When the final whistle came, United could hold their heads up high. Despite being a man down shortly before the interval, they had pushed their more senior hosts all the way, and had forced them to using a lot of long or diagonal balls. The manner of the defeat probably hurt more than the defeat itself. Although the home team certainly had more possession and shots; United were never overawed and may well have made it to the penalty stage but for so many key decisions going against them. This was in a match littered with yellow cards for both teams, as well as the four reds stated. However the game was never truly that dirty. We wish Hartley all the best in the next round, while we move onto new challenges.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, T Rolls (J King 80), D Randall, M Buckler, C Cocklin, A Costello, C Munn, L Francis (c) (O Davis 70), E Hodge, D Cann (C Clarke 65), M Neale
Unused Subs: T Cooper, J Filkins, T Rees