Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 9th November 2019)
Hamworthy United: S Cooper, D Randall, J Gleeson, H Cooper, C Cocklin, T Rolls (J Filkins 45), O Davis, L Francis (c), E Hodge (A Pope 75), D Cann (H White 85), F Saadi
Unused Subs: B Randall, T Sills
Goals: Cann, Francis, Saadi, Pope (x2)
MOM: Ollie King
Hamworthy were hoping to continue their improvement under Tim Sills, while lowly Cowes were desperate to convert their games in hand into points. Shane Cooper took over the gloves, Ollie King having injured a thumb in training. The Yachtsmen would certainly want to end the curse of a few real bad results at the Specsavers in recent years.
With the miserable wet weather thankfully relenting a little before kick-off, United so nearly opened the scoring on 4 minutes. Declan Randall's strike from Fawzi Saadi's deep cross, certainly had the power, but it was deflected off a defender onto the post and out. After a scrappy fast opening from both sides, it was the Islanders who were looking the more comfortable. United were prone to being a bit too casual at times at the back. Cooper had to be alert to tip over a good effort by James Wykes, and it was the Sports who opened the scoring on 19 minutes. Bricknell’s high cross from a corner was knocked back down into play at the far post by Cooper who was under severe pressure. Before the ball could be cleared it was scrambled into the net by Wykes.
The Hammers took just 4 minutes to get back on even terms, with their first bit of quality football so far. With the hosts breaking quickly from defence, Ollie Davis swept the ball out to Dan Cann who produced a good finish just inside the far post. United's joy however lasted only two minutes. After the Hammers had a good shout for a foul near the half-way line turned down, Wykes made good headway before his far post effort rebounded off the woodwork to Michael McEnery for an easy tap in into the vacant net. The see-saw scoring remarkably continued. On 33 minutes. Eddie Hodge picked up a carefully threaded ball down the right channel from Davis, before his path was blocked by Cowes' man Aidan Bryan. Saadi's resultant free kick perfectly teed up Lee Francis whose powerful header found the top right corner of the net from just inside the penalty area. United were now showing more inventiveness in their play, but close to the interval, Tony Rolls sadly had to retire with a suspected broken nose after colliding with his own keeper. The Islanders could perhaps count themselves rather unlucky when Bricknell's header into the net was ruled out for a foul on the keeper. At the other end, Ed Hatt produced an excellent tip-over save from Francis to finish the half.
United did start to crank up the pressure in the second period, even if they still looked a bit laboured at times, and still prone to giving the ball away. However, the atmosphere changed dramatically on 63 minutes. There seemed no danger when Fawzi Saadi gained possession some 25 yards out from goal, but, as he has done many times before in his career, he unleashed a spectacular unstoppable shot that found the top left corner of the net. The Hammers now looked a different side. Hodge soon set up a good opening for Davis, who cheekily scooped the ball high over the keeper. The ball bounced down off the crossbar and it appeared to most to have crossed the line before being hacked out by Hatt, but the Referee's Assistant was too far back to call it.
Cowes were still not finished and did start to apply more pressure themselves; forcing Cooper who was having a good game into making another couple of good saves. In the 1st Minute of injury time Hamworthy made the game safe with a goal worth waiting for. Davis beat his man down the left and played in Ash Pope. With a touch of "Berkamp" Pope cleverly back heeled the ball outfoxing his defender, before cutting in and gliding the ball home just inside the far post. Two minutes later Ash Pope completed an injury time double, finding the net again from close range.
Although perhaps the final score flattered Hamworthy somewhat, they deserved the win over the 90 minutes. Following a shaky start, they won it with some high quality finishing.