The Hammers were still looking for their first win in 2020 having dropped to 13th place in the league. Amesbury have recently appointed ex-Hamworthy manager Carl Poore as their new boss. He has now started to turn things around after a difficult campaign for the Town. This has culminated in two good wins recently at Bashley and at home to Fareham, before holding out at league leaders Alresford last week until late on. With some key players unavailable, the Hammers had to make changes to their team and their formation. Central defender Connor Cocklin was pushed up to play centre forward.
United were quick off the mark, and almost took the lead in the 5th minute. James King was set up by Eddie Hodge, but saw his close range effort ricochet into touch off the legs of visiting stopper Jordan Tewkesbury. It was against the run of play when the Town took the lead after 12 minutes. This followed some poor defending from Brad Doyle’s looping corner which allowed Lewis Chambers to glance the ball in off the far post. From then on it was almost Hamworthy versus Tewkesbury for the remainder of the half; as the Amesbury keeper pulled off save after save, with some top quality handing. The pick of the bunch was holding onto a well struck Ollie Davis effort that looked destined for the top right corner. Following a James King cross he then used his legs to somehow divert Eddie Hodge's powerful shot from five yards out over the bar. It was certainly tough justice on Hamworthy when Amesbury were gifted a goal in the 43rd minute by way of another United mix up. A long punt down the pitch by keeper Tewkesbury took one bounce to reach Adam Costello on the edge of the Hammers' penalty area. The United defender then reasonably assumed he only needed to nod the ball back to his keeper. In fact without any discernible shout, Ollie King had already come right out to claim the ball himself. Costello's header therefore rolled into the unguarded net. Tim Sills must have wondered how his troops could be two down in a half that they had dominated, Amesbury having had just one menial effort on target. Somehow Tim would have to find a way for his team to finish some of the many chances they create, and stop making silly mistakes when defending.
The visitors did emerge after the break showing a little more urgency, but not for long. Ollie King was soon called into making his first real save of the game, pushing Billy Connor's effort over the bar. At the other end James King agonizingly just failed to connect with Cocklin's low cross at the far post. Play again switched ends; the Hammers' keeper neatly gathered another effort from Connor at his near post. The Hammers finally did find a way past Tewkesbury in the 58th minute. Eddie Hodge picked up the ball in his own half, and with defenders retreating he made a superb run down the pitch, before beating the keeper with a low angled shot just inside the far left post. United must have felt that it was still not to be their day when Cocklin's powerful shot hit the inside of the post before rebounding into Tewkesbury’s arms, with Hodge all ready to pounce. Jamie Filkins then turned well and fired just wide from ten yards out. Hamworthy continued to dominate, but Tewkesbury also continued to inspire, especially holding onto numerous long shots by Davis. United’s pressure however finally did lead to their equaliser coming in the 75th minute. Tom Cooper cleverly picked out Eddie Hodge out on right wing. He once again carved his way through the Town defence before beating the keeper at the far left post for another excellent individualistic goal. Conceding the equalizer did galvanize Amesbury for a while. United keeper King himself used his legs to keep out Jack Francis’s effort, before the rebound was put wide. Ironically the Hammers did need an element of luck to complete their turnaround on 86 minutes; a low cross from the left by Declan Randall was sliced into his own net by Lewis Chambers. Despite a nervy last few minutes when Zak Pickett was sent to the sin bin amidst strong claims for a penalty, United held on for the win. Over ninety minutes the Hammers deserved the win having dominated both possession and territory. Only a top performance by the Amesbury keeper prevented a much bigger margin of victory.
Hamworthy United: O King, T Cooper, D Randall, J Filkins, A Costello, T Rolls, O Davis (T Sills 85), L Francis (c), C Cocklin, E Hodge, J King (J Delves 85)
Unused Subs: E Hartnell-Baker, D Cann
Goal: E. Hodge (2), OG