Sydenhams Wessex Premier League (Tuesday 29th October 2019)
Hamworthy United: O King, D Randall, J Gleeson, H Cooper, C Cocklin, T Rolls, O Davis, L Francis (c) (H White 85), C Beard (A Pope 70), D Cann, F Saadi
Unused Subs: J Filkins, E Hodge, R Watkins
MOM: Tony Rolls
The league's two Uniteds were squaring up in what is usually regarded, at least for Portland, as a local derby, the Hammers being their nearest league rivals. There has always been a lot of player movement between the two clubs, but also Portland's management team of Brendon King and Mark Carter who were at Hamworthy just two seasons ago. On the pitch Hamworthy were looking to avenge a 4-3 FA Emirates Cup reverse at the Grove in August where the Islanders came from behind to snatch a late time added on winner. After a good start to the season this encounter in fact started a bad run of results for Hamworthy. The Blues however have since steadily climbed the league table. Under new Manager Tim Sills (who is on holiday for this game) results have been more encouraging. Newly appointed Assistant Manager Chris Senior stepped in to take charge
Both teams struggled to get into a rhythm in the constant drizzle, but it was the visitors who created the early chances. A fine ball by Alex Halloran let in Jamie Beasley, but Ollie King saved well with his legs. King then showed assured handling to keep out a long effort from Bailey Rowe. The Hammers however now began to get into the game. Ollie Davis’s cross-come-shot was just clawed out from under the bar by keeper Steve Boore. Dan Cann fired just wide after a good ball by Fawzi Saadi. King then produced the best save so far of the match, diving sharply to his right to keep out a deflected close range effort from Max Bucker.
In the 23rd minutes the visitors did make the breakthrough. Halloran played the ball through to Rowe, who showed good composure to turn and hold off a couple of defenders before firing a crisp shot into the net that gave King no chance. It took Hamworthy only six minutes to respond in a fine move, both in its origins and its final execution. Following a quick break out of defence Lee Francis threaded the ball forward to Dan Cann, who swept it first time to Saadi in space on the left. Saadi cut in well, beating a defender, before his near post effort was beaten into touch by Boore.
Saadi's resultant corner was only cleared back as far as Connor Cocklin, who swept the ball superbly into the top right corner of the net. The same player should have scored again soon after, but this time his usually reliable heading ability let him down and the ball sailed over. Although both teams had their chances there was no further scoring before the break.
The second period did not have quite the bite to it as the first. The Blues had two successive early shots charged down, before Beasley just failed to get a vital touch in front of the goal. At the other end, Saadi tapped the ball back to Lee Francis who was in a good position, but the Hamworthy captain fired just wide.
The game then entered a scrappy phase, not helped by a series of bookings mostly for Portland players for niggly offences including a sin bin visit. The Hammers were having trouble in keeping the ball, and were probably missing the influential link up man Eddie Hodge whose car had broken down on route to the game. T
hey did however still look the more likely to score Cameron Beard missed a glorious chance from a few yards out just before being substituted. Cann could only find the side stanchion from a tight angle after the keeper had spilled a cross, and substitute Ash Pope missed an easy chance in front of goal. Portland though came back well in the latter stages, and King again used his legs to deny Rowe.
Hamworthy were probably happy to take a point at that stage, but they almost grabbed all three when Cann had the ball in the net after an excellent short passing build up. However the effort was adjudged offside, although those watching in line felt otherwise. Both sides were on top for different periods in a scrappy second half, after a hard fought even first half.