Wessex League (#2) HT Score: 0-0
Hamworthy Utd Scorers: C Beard, B Randall
MOM: Tony Rolls
Hamworthy Utd Team: S Jones, J Filkins, J Gleeson, H Cooper, D Randall (c), T Rolls, C Beard, L Francis, J Guthrie (B Randall 60), D Cann (H White 70), E Hodge (M Steer 50). Unused Subs: R Watkins, C Cocklin, C Senior
This fixture had no shortage of billing. Neighbours Poppies ended the last campaign in a high, but perhaps surprisingly third place in the League. This was three points and three positions above the Hammers. In the league games between the two Clubs, each team won their home leg handsomely. However, almost all of that Bournemouth squad have now moved on to new Clubs including some to the Hammers. United’s Sam Jones and Harry Cooper would now be facing their old club, with The Poppies fielding ex-United favourite Edgar Zanin. United also have many other new faces in their Squad, and would been hoping to build on their emphatic start to the season at Solent University last Saturday.
The game started at a good pace. Louis Coulson, after shrugging off Declan Randall’s challenge had a decent effort saved by Sam Jones at his near post. On the quarter hour Dan Cann saw his free kick from just outside the penalty area beat the four man wall, but it was well read by Poppies’ stopper James Mayo. A few minutes later Cann’s superb finish from Eddie Hodge’s cross did find the net, but the flag had gone up for offside. Poppies’ man Edgar Zanin then finished a good run with a weak shot that was easily saved by Jones. Play again switched to the other end, and Cann found himself with space in front of goal, but he just failed to connect with Jamie Gleeson’s long diagonal ball, and it was gathered by a relieved Mayo.
Cann then made it a trio of near misses, seeing his close range header from Gleeson’s corner, headed off the line by Poppies’ captain Lewis Harvey. Despite the blank score sheet at the interval, the first half had been played with good intensity. The Hammers probably had the edge, but the Poppies’ game plan to get men behind the ball, and close down quickly saw to it that United’s final path to goal was repeatedly blocked despite their industrious approach play. The game now really in need of a goal.
It took only five minutes after the restart for that goal to come, but few would have envisaged the circumstances. There seemed little danger when Poppies’ man Jake Harvey sent in a low cross. However Jack Voisey had been left completely unmarked, and was able to tap the ball into the net past Jones to give Bournemouth the lead. Paradoxically, the goal injected new vigour into United’s attacks, and they were back on level terms on the hour mark. Substitute Brandon Randall, who had just come on, did well to convert a low cross at the far post that had been put in by Dan Cann. Although Poppies were always a threat on the counter,
Hamworthy always looked the more assured, and a second goal for them was always on the cards. It finally arrived in the 85th minute, when substitute Matt Steer’s well floated free kick was headed into the top far corner of the net by Cameron Beard. Beard almost added another a minute later. After being put clean through by Steer, he saw his shot from the edge of the area beat the onrushing Mayo, but it went just wide. In the 89th minute Poppies’ Levi Ridealgh was shown a second yellow card. This was for a poor challenge on Harrison White, having already been reprimanded early in the half for clattering into the leg of United keeper Sam Jones.
Hamworthy comfortably coped with some late Poppies’ pressure to claim the points, and the derby bragging rights. They also kept their pole position in the league. Few would dispute the hosts deserved the win for their second half performance, but they were made to work for it all the way by a determined new look Bournemouth outfit.