The Hammer's big week of matches continued with the next Wessex League match against the table toppers which brings us up to date!
Horndean1 Hamworthy United 2
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 22nd January 2022)
With Horndean dropping points in midweek, Hamworthy knew a win at Five Heads Park would put them second, and just one point below their hosts with three games in hand. With injuries and the Covid situation affecting a number of his squad including 4 of his central defenders, boss Tim Sills made three changes to last Saturday's starting eleven. This included the return of Crit Clarke, and Max Buckler who was to convert to a central defender alongside Billy Walker.
United started off kicking up the steep slope, but on the sticky pitch neither team was able to get into any sort of early rhythm. The few chances that went begging did go the visitors’ way, with Max Wilcock and Cam Munn just unable to turn in the good crosses coming from either side. Hamworthy gradually started to take control, and on the half hour a clean though Munn went to ground after a tight clash of legs with home keeper Cameron Scott. The referee however eventually decided to award a free kick to the Deans. The Hammers' best chance to date came one minute later. Another excellent corner from the left by the influential Steve Devlin was nodded on by captain Lee Francis to Billy Walker whose strong header was well saved by Scott. When Horndean’s first real chance came it was against the run of play. Harry Jackson, unmarked at the far post, was just unable to connect with Robbie Taw's cross from the right. This after Zach Willett had made a good decoy run to confuse the United defence. Hamworthy however continued to turn up the heat. Jack Lovell fired just wide after a slip by Brandon Miller, before Max Wilcock met the same outcome after muscling his way past a couple of defenders. The Hammers would have been happy with their first half performance, even though they lack a goal as yet to show for it. The Deans meanwhile had looked surprisingly lacklustre over the first period.
Although the Hammers continued after the break where they left off, ten minutes into it, the hosts almost took a shock lead. This was when a good flick by Connor Duffin deceived the home defence, and allowed Harry Jackson a clear run at goal. His strike from the edge of the area was well hit, but passed just wide of the left post. United later had a massive chance to take the lead. Devlin's free kick was cleared right into path of Francis, whose first-time effort from ten yards slammed into the right-hand post and then rolled along the goal-line before being cleared. Hamworthy's pressure finally paid off on 68 minutes. Devlin's long corner from the right was picked out by Crit Clarke. With the home defence seemingly switching off, Clarke's pinpoint return cross was headed firmly into the net from three yards by the unmarked Billy Walker. This finally prompted the Deans to show some urgency upfront. Miller's corner was met by Jack Lee's looping header that looked destined to creep inside the far post. However, Shane Murphy leapt across to get a decisive hand to the ball. The United keeper then twisted through air to tip round the post a bizarre deflection off Hamworthy’s Drew Eccott-Young's shin. With Horndean now pressing hard, it needed a superb tackle on the goal-line by Billy Walker to keep the Hammers' slender lead intact. The hosts did finally level matters on 84 minutes when Connor Duffin's venomous low free kick from just outside the area went straight in, with United's wall still asking questions. However, the Hammers' response was almost immediate. Billy Walker sent in a long hopeful diagonal ball from the right, which was well collected by Max Wilcock. After shrugging off a side challenge from Lee, he waited for the keeper to go to ground before calmly slotting the ball into the net. This time there was no way back for the Deans, but they had certainly put up a much better second half fight. For United, yet another hard-fought win in a pivotal week that still leaves them with three fronts to fight on. Tim Sills' depth in squad once again a telling factor.
Hamworthy United: S Murphy, D Eccott-Young, C Clarke, S Devlin, B Walker, M Buckler, J Lovell, L Francis (c), M Wilcock, C Munn (S Lanahan 85), J Beasley (E Hodge 65)
Unused Subs: M Finch, H Wright