Hamworthy were hoping to continue their current momentum with a third straight win. The omens were good, United having won all their three league encounters against Tadley since their promotion from Wessex One in 2018. This included a1-3 victory at Barlows Park in Tim Sills' first match in charge back in October. Fourteenth placed Tadley had also lost their last four games on the road. The Hammers though would have to make do without the suspended Tom Cooper and Dan Cann, important cogs in the victory at Portland a week back.
The Hammers had the early edge, before Tadley so nearly opened the scoring on the quarter hour. A lapse in the home defence was seized on by George Hallahan whose belter of a shot from the edge of the area rebounded back into play off the post. The threat was not over, George Farrrelly seemingly having the simplest of chances to convert the loose ball, but, under pressure from a determined Tony Rolls, scuffed his effort wide. The Hammers then missed an easy chance of their own. Elliott Hartnell-Baker made good ground to get onto the end of a low cross by Ollie Davis, but then flicked the ball just wide of the near post. However it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 31st minute in somewhat controversial circumstances. Tadley were awarded a corner, although the last touch appeared to come off one of their players. However this did not excuse Hamworthy's lack of concentration from the resulting low cross into the six yard box from Jordan Goaters corner. Callum Sweeney was not picked up at all at the near post as he back-heeled the ball into the net past a stagnant United defence. Hamworthy almost found the net on 37 minutes from a Fawzi Saadi free kick aimed to the near post. However the three man wall was superbly marshalled by Tadley stopper Jack Martin who was guarding the far post. This gave Saadi little to shoot at, and the ball finished just wide. Agonisingly for the hosts, Tadley doubled their lead on 41 minutes, when the unfortunate Ollie King allowed a long low shot from Goater to squirm through his hands and into the net. This had been a frustrating half for the Hammers. They had created a few chances which on another day might have counted, but once again they fell into their old habit of gifting goals to the opposition. The visitors were looking stronger and wanting the ball far more than the Hammers who would have to show a big improvement in the second half.
The Hammers made a better start to the second half. Davis saw his teasing low cross well held by the keeper. Then however they almost leaked a third goal when Hallahan headed a bouncing cross just over the bar. At the other end an Eddie Hodge effort was well held by the Tadley keeper. It was the visitors who gave themselves some daylight with their third goal on 54 minutes. Goater's free kick from just outside the penalty area took a wicked deflection off the wall and into the right corner of the net, giving King no chance. Hamworthy were a man up on the hour, after Hallahan was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge on Davis. United though could not make their numerical advantage count. Saadi saw another free kick well saved by Goater at the second attempt. Tadley were certainly not content to sit back, King had to make a fine save from Makoni, before the rebound was put over the bar. Both teams lost a man each in the 77th minute. Davis was again the recipient of a reckless and red carded challenge, this time by Sweeney. However Declan Randall's retaliation on Sweeney earned him a second yellow, having already been cautioned earlier for a late tackle. The Hammers gave themselves a glimmer of hope on 81 minutes, when Lee Francis got in a good header and find the net from Saadi's cross. Despite pressing forward, United could not find the net again. Substitute Cam Munn was unable to get a firm enough header onto another good Saadi cross to really trouble the keeper. It was not Hamworth’s day with too many players having had an off day. Equally Tadley deserved credit for playing to their strengths and defending well especially when a man down. Team: