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REPORT: Hamworthy Utd 4-1 Shaftesbury

Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 29th February 2020)

With most other games being called off; three points would push Hamworthy up to eighth place, and two more goals would also make them the league’s top scorers. Lowly Shaftesbury however were not completely out of the woods themselves, so they too could do with the comfort of three points. United welcomed the returning James Guthrie back to the bench after starting the season at the Specsavers. The Rockies fielded two ex-Hammers, River Smith and Harry Cooper. They also had ex-United chief Callum Brooks assisting their Management Team.

Despite the swirling winds and showers, both teams to their credit tried to play good football. After the Hammers were asked to change into their yellow tops because the low sun was making their maroon ones indistinct; the Rockies almost grabbed a ninth minute lead. Tom Rees was almost left "marooned" when his headed clearance from outside the area was played back towards goal from 30 yards by Jack Mitchell. However the United keeper just made it back in time to claim the ball on the line. Hamworthy were now creating the majority of the chances, forcing the Rockies' young keeper Ronan Craven into making some really good saves. Shaftesbury did counter attack briefly, when Connor Millar completed a good move but fired just wide of the far post. Rees who had come off his line a few times to claim the ball, was relieved to see Mali Benjamin fire a good chance just over the bar. United gradually began to take control, and deservedly took the lead just after the half hour mark. In a neat little passage of play that started out on the left, Cam Munn helped by some neat touches from Connor Cocklin and Eddie Hodge, received the ball back again. His fierce shot close to the penalty spot found the net, leaving the busy Craven with no chance to save. Only a superb tip over the bar by Craven from a close range Hodge effort prevented the Hammers from doubling their lead just on half time. Hamworthy must have left the field feeling they should have been more than one goal up considering all the chances they had created.

The hosts doubled their advantage on 47 minutes in perhaps fortuitous circumstances. King's corner reached Cam Munn on the edge of the area. His tame shot was cruelly deflected into the net off the leg of Rockies' captain Jack Vallis, who was positioned right in front of his distraught keeper who was just about to claim the ball. After a brief ferocious hailstorm it was the visitors who now faired the better, getting a goal back in the 61st minute. Connor Millar won the ball in the air between the two central defenders, and fed it to Mali Benjamin. He went on beat Tom Rees with a fierce shot just inside the left post. However, the hosts responded well; with Cocklin heading King's free kick inches over the bar. At the other end, Rees made a good save with his legs from River Smith, before Vallis headed a gilt-edged chance just over the bar. In the 69th minute United restored their two goal cushion when, Eddie Hodge turned in a miscued clearance. The ball had crossed the line just before Aaron White's desperate attempt at a clearance. Rees was then called on to make his best save of the match. He had to move sharply to claw out Nick Hewlett's effort which had taken an upward deflection off the boot of Declan Randall.

The Hammers finally put the game to bed in the 82nd minute with a 4th goal. Lee Francis was already being applauded for a superb looped ball into the path of Connor Cocklin. The stand-in striker completed the move with a rasping low shot that beat the keeper just inside his near post.

In a flurry of late United chances, Craven produced two more fine saves, and substitute Guthrie also hit the post. The Hammers had reached their pre-match objectives and thoroughly deserved the win. It was a highly efficient all round performance played in difficult conditions, against a club that has so often caused us problems in the past.

Hamworthy United: T Rees, T Cooper, D Randall, J Gleeson (J Filkins 85) , A Costello, T Rolls, J King (J Guthrie 75), L Francis (c), C Cocklin, E Hodge, C Munn (F Saadi 70)

Unused Subs: T Sills, J Delves Goals: Munn, Cocklin, Hodge, OG

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