Sydenhams Wessex Premier League
(Tuesday 11th February 2020)
The Hammers' last three results on the road have all finished in defeat despite having played good football and dominating for long periods. Back on home territory, they were hoping to put that right and pick up 3 points to help them climb back up the table. The Town though would have to start as favourites, having comfortably beaten United 3-0 on their pitch in December. They also had already beaten League leaders Alresford twice this season 7-1 at home, and 0-1 away.
On a bitterly cold and windy evening, it was United who created the few chances there were in the first half. Both teams appeared to cancel one another out with the Town having the advantage of the strong wind. The first piece of good football did not come until the 15th minute. Following some good approach work and lay off by Louie Coulson, Jamie Beasley's low cross was well claimed by Fareham’s keeper Lewis Watch under considerable pressure from the lurking Connor Cocklin. It did however take 27 minutes to see any sort of real attempt on goal by either side. Connor Cocklin with the goal at his mercy somehow managed to head Ollie Davis's cross from the right; just wide of the near post. On the half hour Beasley saw his low free kick comfortably held by Watch. However, the Hammers were at times prone to leaving too much room down Fareham’s right. This enabled the Town’s wing-back to stay out wide and apply pressure down that channel. This was when the our defence was being dragged to the other side as play switched. One such break led to Fareham’s only real chance of the half. A Tom Settle corner set up a free header for captain Gary Moody, but, fortunately for United, it passed wide. Another good ball from Charlie Cooper almost put Gary Austin in the clear, but the Fareham man just failed to connect with the ball. Despite having most of the playUnited would still have plenty of work to do to claim the points in the second half. The Town looked fairly solid at the back, but were not so good up front, and were perhaps hoping to catch Hamworthy on the break.
After the break the players returned to find lashing rain coming down, as well as the strong wind that was now in the Hammers favour. United were soon on top and were now making chances that kept keeper Watch busy; forcing him into making a couple of good saves. Our pressure finally paid dividends in the 66th minute. James King first showed good determination to outwit his defender to a cross ball from Declan Randall. King's excellent first time diagonal strike, from just inside the penalty area, found the far corner of the net with the keeper this time well beaten.
United remained in control and doubled their lead on 81 minutes following another good team move. A long ball from Jamie Gleeson could only be helped on in the driving wind, by Fareham’s Ashley Tattersall. It fell into the path of substitute Cam Munn, who then cleverly played in Connor Cocklin to coolly finish and double the lead. The Hammers put the game to bed with a third goal in the 85th minute. Watch took one touch too many in attempting to clear a back pass. This enabled Munn to pounce and jostle for the ball with the keeper. The ball broke loose and it fell nicely to Lee Francis to firmly dispatch it into the net. The Town did counter for a brief period and finally produced their first shots on target. Tom Rees used his legs well to deny Town substitute Luke Slade at his near post. A superb run from his own half by Tattersall ended with a neat lay-off again to Slade, but this time his effort from a similar position was cleanly held by Rees.
Three minutes into injury time, substitute Kai McCrow found himself clean through, and although his final effort was well blocked by the advancing keeper, Cam Munn was on hand to ram home the rebound. This was another good all round performance by the Hammers. Over the ninety minutes they were much the better side, and after taking the lead never looked like losing it. Interestingly, all their three substitutes had a hand in at least one of the goals.
Hammers : T Rees, T Cooper, D Randall, J Gleeson, A Costello, T Rolls, O Davis (J King 25), L Francis (c), C Cocklin (K McCrow 85), L Coulson (C Munn 70), J Beasley
Unused Subs : T Sills, J Filkins Goals: King, Cocklin, Francis, Munn