The fist game of the season saw Dann Cann and Cameron Beard seal hattricks in an emphatic win against Solent University.
Hamworthy United Scorers: D.Cann (3), C.Beard (2), H.White MOM: Cameron Beard
Hamworthy United: S Jones, J Filkins (R Watkins 80), J Gleeson, H Cooper (B Randall 65), D Randall (c), C Cocklin, C Beard, L Francis, J Guthrie, D Cann, E Hodge (H White 65)
Unused Subs: D Dwyer, C Senior
United arrived at Test Park hoping to start the season with a win against their newly re-named hosts. Although the Hammers have suffered some embarrassing defeats there in recent years, catching the notorious slow starters so early in the campaign could be to their advantage. Matt Steer and Tony Rolls were serving out suspensions from their previous clubs. However with the influential Eddie Hodge returning, boss Alan Lay was still able to utilise a strong squad.
Early goal sets the tone
It took only 8 minutes for the much stronger looking United to open their account. A slick passing move down the left wing involving Lee Francis, Jamie Gleeson and Harry Cooper set up an opening for Dann Cann who cut in for a deadly finish into the far corner of the net. Five minutes later the Hammers doubled their lead. Jamie Filkins slotted the ball down the right touchline into the path of Cann. The United man easily ousted his defender, before his teasing low ball across the goal took out the keeper, and was then smashed into the gaping net by Cameron Beard at the far post. In the eighteenth minute Beard completed his double. Receiving the ball from James Guthrie, and with options to pass, but he instead tried his luck from distance. A splendid strike it was too, powering into the bottom left corner of the net. The Hammers were now in complete control, and had several near misses before Dan Cann completed his own brace on 42 minutes. This was after Lee Francis's shot fell conveniently into his path off a defender. The United man again powerfully struck the ball home at the far post.
Dann Cann and Beard seals their hattricks
The students gave themselves a lifeline in the first minute of the restart, Tam Demunga taking advantage of a rare lack of concentration at the back to find the net. However, normal service resumed for the Hammers on 55 minutes. A precise ball played into the danger area by Eddie Hodge set up Dann Cann for his hat-trick, forcing the ball home to the left of the exposed keeper. Hamworthy made it six in the 62nd minute. Another well crafted ball by Hodge was met by a cheeky back-heel just outside penalty area by Cann, right into the path of Cameron Beard. Beard duly stroked the ball home just inside the far post to complete the second hat-trick of the afternoon for the rampant visitors. Substitute Harrison White completed Solent's misery on 80 minutes driving the ball from distance into the bottom left hand corner after good work by Brandon Randall and Beard. T
he beleaguered Solent keeper Alex Londors could finally hold his head high on 85 minutes. He produced a quite remarkable save to claw out Brandon Randall's close range bullet shot. Play immediately switched to the other end, Jones getting down quickly to claw out Demunga's low strike, before substitute Luke Bennett fired the rebound just over the bar.
United's hoodoo at Test Park was finally put to bed in emphatic style, all the players working for each other, and using the widths well. In particular Lee Francis and Eddie Hodge, controlled much of the game, and Jamie Gleeson covered an enormous amount of ground. To be fair it must be taken into account that the student side looked fairly young, and at times it was almost literally "men v boys". However they tried their best and never gave up, despite lacking the strength and stamina of Hamworthy - but their days will surely come later in the season.