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Report: Hamworthy United 1-3 Fleet Town

Fawzi Saadi
Saadi looking to deliver

On a rather cold, but clear windless day it was the Town who drew first blood on 14 minutes after a lively opening. A long corner from the right was headed back across the goal before Aaron Redford standing just inside the near post finally nodded the ball over the line. Agonisingly for the Hammers, Fleet doubled their four minutes later, when Redford broke down the right and sent in a long low cross for Jake Hammond to slide in at the far post.

Despite suddenly being two goals behind, United had not been playing badly, but had twice been punished for not closing down two Town offensives quick enough. Indeed the remainder of the half was almost a catalogue of missed Hammers' chances. Just after home stopper Ollie King has saved well with his legs from Redford, United's best chance so far came on the half hour. Munn was held back by Brad Passfield just outside the area when he was chasing a good through ball from Fawzi Saadi. With the Town man lucky to stay on the pitch, Saadi's firm free kick was brilliantly pushed onto the near post by Fleet keeper Chris Harris, before Munn could only head the rebound just over the bar. Harris soon repeated his feat, pushing another dangerous Saadi free kick into touch. On 39 minutes, Dan Cann had the ball in the net following good work by Adam Costello and Eddie Hodge, but was caught just offside. Such was United's dominance apart from the first twenty minutes; they could still hopefully turn the match around after the break, but would certainly need an early goal to do so.

After the break play continued much as before, with United applying most of the pressure, and Fleet continually using the long high balls wherever possible. Hamworthy in fact had a good case for a penalty turned down after Ollie Davis was sent crashing to the ground after a forceful challenge in the back. Luckily he was able to continue after treatment. The score-line became a travesty for the Hammers in the 80th minute when the Town bagged their third goal in first controversial then bizarre circumstances. Firstly, to those watching in line, Town substitute Danial Bone appeared a good two yards offside as he collected a forward ball. Secondly, the Town man, not the lightest of players, was quickly caught up with by Adam Costello before slipping to the ground when attempting to shoot. However, while on the deck, Bone was somehow still able to get a foot on the ball and prod it gently past King who himself was already grounded after anticipating the first attempt.

United finally managed to respond five minutes later when substitute James King's swipe at Saadi's cross rebounded down off the underside of the bar and then out of the goal. Film evidence confirmed the ball had narrowly crossed the line, but credit is due to the line official who was well positioned and otherwise may not have validated the goal. Almost immediately after, the Hammers so nearly reduced the deficit to one. Eddie Hodge showed great determination to win the ball just inside the Fleet half before laying it off to Davis in space just outside the penalty box. Despite other options, the United man elected to try and flick the ball past Harris as he came to narrow the angle, but the Fleet keeper was able to gather the shot. Ollie King also pulled off a couple of good late saves as United left gaps pressing forward.

However, United were unable to score again and were left to ponder how they conceded three soft goals while so many chances of their own went begging. The Town keeper Harris credit held on to almost everything in the six yard box, although it must be said so many United efforts were straight down his throat.

Throughout the game Fleet’s long ball tactics caused the Hamworthy defence problems, especially in the first 20 minutes of the game when most of the damage was done. They also had a very effective striker in Aaron Radford who with their Keeper went a great way to them winning the game.

Hamworthy Team: O King, T Cooper (E Hartnell-Baker 80), F Saadi, J Gleeson, C Cocklin, A Costello, O Davis, L Francis (c), E Hodge, D Cann, C Munn (J King 65)

Unused Subs: D Randall, J Filkins

Goal: J King

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