Once again, the Hammers played a great half of football against a very good Portchester side, but failed to hold on right at the end of a very entertaining match.
After the disappointment of losing the Bournemouth Senior Cup Final on penalties to Brockenhurst the previous Tuesday, the Hammers came flying out of the traps from the kick off, on what was a very heavy and uneven pitch, camouflaged with large sanded areas.
Ollie Davies was able to get down the right side at will but could never really pick out a maroon shirt with his crosses. Eddie Hodge, as industrious as ever, ran straight at the Portchester defence, but his left footed shot went just over. Connor Cocklin, again filling in at no 9 was put clean through on goal but his shot was blocked by the sliding tackle from the trailing defender.
Things were going well up to this point, until, a ball crossed from the opposition left went all the way across the box, the Hammers failed to be alert to the incoming winger who stroked it home. 1-0 Portchester. Portchester applied pressure, when a through ball was a race between their forward, and the Hammer’s goalkeeper, Tom Rees. Tom got to the ball first only to be clattered with a studs up challenge on his shin! The Portchester player was lucky to receive only a yellow card, but the game was delayed for 5 minutes whilst Tom received treatment. The injury did prevent him from taking goal kicks for the rest of the half.
Hamworthy struck back, a route one ball over the top from Ollie Davies found an unmarked Eddie Hodge, who collected the ball in his stride and stuck it home with his left foot. Just before Halftime came, Eddie again had space in the box and his shot rolled agonisingly wide. Hammers looking good for 1-1 at Halftime.
The second half started with the inevitable pressure from the home side, although the Hammers defence stood firm. In fact, it was an unlikely outcome when Hamworthy broke out on the counter down the left with Jamie Beasley. He stormed past the full back and sent the ball across the box for Eddie Hodge to smash in his second of the match, his shot flying into the net off the crossbar. Hamworthy taking a 2-1 lead was worthy of the effort that the team had put in during the match so far.
In order to try and keep this lead, Tim Sills sent on two sets of fresh legs, in Louie Coulson and Jamie Filkins, but before they could have any impact, possession was lost deep in our own half. The goal bound effort was parried by keeper Tom Rees but a Portchester player was on hand to tie it up at 2-2 in the 74th minute.
Portchester really applied the pressure, and the flow of play was only one way by now, but despite some resolute defending, in the 78th minute, the winning goal came from yet another set piece. A corner from the left, deep to the far post, and an uncontested header found the net ! Portchester 3-2.
It’s all about putting the ball in the net, I know, but on reflection, the Hammers were denied, what could, and should have been, a valuable point - Wasn’t to be ........again !
Hammers : Rees, Cooper (Filkins), Randall, Gleason, Costello, Rolls, Davies (Munn), Francis (Captain), Cocklin (Coulson), Beasley
Unused Subs : Sills Goals: Hodge x2