Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 17th August 2019)
Hamworthy United: S Jones, D Randall (c), J Gleeson, H Cooper, C Cocklin (J Filkins 85), T Rolls, B Randall (H White 75), L Francis, C Beard, M Steer (R Watkins 85), E Hodge Unused Subs: C Senior
Hamworthy Goals: Steer, Francis (x2), B. Randall MOM: E Hodge
WATCH: All the goals
The Hammers were hoping to make it three league wins out of three, and maintain their top spot in the league. Hamble though would not be easy opposition, after having a resounding FA Cup win at Romsey Town last Saturday, and with two league draws. Both fixtures between the clubs last year were played just a few days apart, and curiously resulted in emphatic victories for the away sides. The Hammers also convincingly overcame the Monks in the latter stages of the FA Vase in a County Ground replay.
It was certainly the home team that looked the more accomplished in the opening stages. Two early shots demonstrated Hamble’s intent despite both efforts being much too high. The Hammers meanwhile created nothing, and were not looking at all comfortable on the ball, especially the reshuffled defence. John McKie soon found himself clear, and right in front of Sam Jones, but the United keeper saved bravely at his feet. Jordan Raguette was again the lucky recipient of some indecisive defending, but again saw his firm strike clear the bar, this time though only by a whisker. However it was the Hammers who took the lead on 27 minutes with their first attack of any real quality. From a patient build up, the ball found its way Matt Steer out on the right. The United man sent over a perfect cross which was met in turn by a firm low header into the net by Lee Francis that wrong footed the Hamble stopper Rory Anderson. It took only a minute for the hosts to level the score. Again some indecision at the back allowed Pete Castle, who had been set up by Charlie Wagstaffe's header, to nip in between two defenders and slot the ball home under Sam Jones. It took until the latter stages of the half for the Hammers to really settle down, and produce the football they are capable of. This was epitomised in the 40th minute by a fine ball down the left wing from Harry Cooper that found Ed Hodge in space and just wide of goal. The United man might have done better had he shot before a challenge came in from Ricky Bull. However to his credit and with the ball now on his stronger foot, his final shot still found the angle between the near post and crossbar from an acute angle.
It took only two minutes after the restart for a resurgent Hamworthy to regain the lead. A scramble inside the penalty area ended with a flick on by Hodge to Brandon Randall, who looped the ball into the net to score. With United now playing much more positive football, they added a third goal on 69 minutes. Following another good ball from Hodge, Matt Steer rounded the goalkeeper, who unluckily appeared to trip over himself as he came out, and coolly slid the ball home from a tight angle. Hamble appeared to tire as the game progressed, and relied far more on the long ball, but United's tall central defenders dealt easily with these. However in the 77th minute Jones was finally called on to make a fine save low down to his left from Wagstaffe who had worked his way into the box.
The visitors put the game to bed with a fourth strike on 82 minutes. Lee Francis claimed the ball in midfield and, via a neat one-two with Man of the Match Eddie Hodge, made his way unchallenged towards the edge of the penalty area. He then firmly dispatched the ball home, low to the left of Anderson to complete his brace. Hamble did come more into the game in the latter stages, but both teams were unable to convert their chances, and United were able to maintain their perfect start to the season. Yet again, despite their shortcomings in the first half, the Hammers proved their superior endurance over the full 90 minutes. This could be a major factor this season for them.
Reaction from Manager Alan Lay
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