The Hammers returned to Cup action on Saturday with their 8th Away draw from the FA competitions this season and so off we all trekked to Royal Wootton Bassett.....
Royal Wootten Bassett Town 1 Hamworthy United 3
Buildbase F.A. Vase 3rd Round proper (Saturday 11th December 2021)
The two clubs had met just once before, in an early season FA Cup encounter in 2012 when the Town won 1-0. Between the sticks for United that day was Shane Murphy, the one survivor of that team included in to-day’s line-up. Royal Wooton Bassett Town play in the Hellenic League. The Premier Division. The Hammers were missing a few key players through injury, but still looked a force. Assistant boss Chris Senior took the reins due to Tim Sills having another engagement. The winners of this tie would be in the last 32 teams left in the Vase.
The game started in driving rain and windy conditions, making good football difficult. It was the hosts who looked to have the earlier spark, and spurned a golden chance to take the lead on 3 minutes. Matt Bennett found himself one-on-one with Murphy, but the Bassett man's final shot lacked composure and finished wide of the far post. The hosts deservedly drew first blood on 23 minutes. Crit Clarke and Max Buckler between them were unable to deal with a well worked ball down the right channel by John Mills. This allowed Matt Bennett a clear run at goal. Murphy did well to block Bennett's near post shot, only for the ball to roll agonizingly to the opposite post. Tom Ouldridge was on hand to force the ball home, although Tony Rolls on the line did his best to avert it. Hamworthy were having great difficulties getting into the game, and were making many more errors than usual in defence. Town's Bennett was twice unable to finish off good runs with an on-target finish. Credit though must be given for Murphy for his good positioning each time. It was with immense relief that the Hammers equalized against the run of play on the stroke of half time. A rapid passing movement down the pitch made its way, if rather fortuitously to Max Wilcock on the right edge of the box. With the home defence momentarily switching off Wilcock was able turn in on goal and take aim. His low shot did enough to beat the dive of host stopper Edward Cavanagh and nestle just inside the far post. Over the first period Bassett had always looked that yard sharper in possession, with the Hamworthy back line looking unusually disjointed at times. The hosts could and perhaps should have been in the lead at the interval. They would surely now be wondering how to lift themselves after the late sucker-punch. There was no doubt the away dressing room would be the more psyched up at the interval.
United emerged after the break showing much more intent; Wilcock and Munn both shot just off-target from well worked positions. After 56 minutes it was the Hammers who went in front. The Bassett keeper only managed to get an unconvincing parry to Cam Munn's header from Eddie Hodge's pinpoint corner. The ball was returned with interest by Jack Lovell's firm header into the back of the net. Murphy again rescued Hamworthy, blocking Bennett’s shot after he had capitalized on a poor back pass. United were now enjoying more of the play, and made it three in the 75th minute. There certainly seemed no danger when Hodge was cynically brought down by a Town defender out on the left bye-line. Eddie Hodge himself got up to take the free kick, and it looked at first an easy enough take for Cavanagh. However, seemingly expecting the lurking Lovell to get a touch (that never came), the keeper remained motionless as the ball drifted into the net just inside the far post. A now dominant United had a very good shout for a penalty turned down late on. This was when the busy Munn appeared to be pulled back in the six-yard box, and they also had another goal disallowed for hand-ball. Very late on, Wilcock almost scored again after a fine delivery by Hodge, but could only poke his shot wide from ten yards out. In a game of two halves United showed far more desire after the interval and did just enough to deserve the win by taking their chances when they came. On the other hand, Bassett after falling behind were unfortunately unable to muster the same physical and mental strength they had shown in abundance earlier.
Hamworthy: S Murphy, T Rolls (H Wright 70), C Clarke, M Buckler, C Cocklin, B Walker, E Hodge, L Francis (c), M Wilcock, C Munn (J Filkins 85), J Lovell (D Eccott-Young 75) Unused Subs: S Lanahan.