Hamworthy Utd 0 Baffin Milton Rovers 1
“Unable to finish the chances we had to score”
Sydenhams Premier League (Tuesday 10th October 2017)
Hamworthy welcomed their Portsmouth based opponents making their first ever visit to the County Ground in this their inaugural season in the Wessex Premier, having only been formed in 2011. United's recent results have been something of a roller coaster, a massive win sandwiched between two heavy defeats, so hopefully they would bounce back to form on the night. They would have to manage however without Jamie Filkins, who injured his back at Horndean, Harry Montague who was still resting a knock, and Dann Cann who was not available. Steve Smith however was now fit enough to make the bench.
All the early pressure came from the hosts. Rico Wilson, in on goal, squandered a great opportunity five minutes in, side-footing the ball over the bar from Nick Swann's lay off. On the quarter hour, Carl Preston's free kick was headed just wide of goal by Captain Nathan Walker, before Preston drew a comfortable save from Baffins' stopper Tom Boyle diving to his right.
Against the run of play, the Rovers almost grabbed the lead. Chaz Gardner cleverly turned on the ball before his thumping effort slammed onto bar and over. Andy Knights then kept United in the match, saving well with his legs after Joel Jackson found himself clean through on goal. However the Hammers came back strongly, but again failed to take their chances. Rico Wlison's clever back-header found Carl Preston with the goal at his mercy, but Boyle saved well with his legs. Sam Clarke was then left wondering how he put wide a simple chance at the far post from the pickings of Carl Preston's corner. The Hammers had certainly played the better football in what was a slightly scrappy first half, and must have felt disappointed not to be two goals to the good.
With both teams hustling and bustling after the break, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 53 minutes. The United defence was caught cold by Blu Boam's exquisite lob down the middle to Joel Jackson. He advanced a few paces before lobbing the ball over Knights who had come out to narrow the angle. Knights then reacted instinctively to keep the arrears to only one, by blocking the ball after Shane Cornish's original shot took a wicked deflection off the shoulders of one of his teammates. The remainder of the half was a sorry tale of the Hammers missing chance after chance against the five man Rovers' defence who, by hook or crook, managed to repel everything thrown at them. The hosts even threw Nathan Walker up front for the last fifteen minutes to help find a way through, and it almost paid dividends. The United captain just failed to connect with Carl Preston's cross at the far post, before drawing Boyle into a fine save. Nathan's bending free kick from just outside the area also looked to be creeping in at the far post, but agonizingly only curled into the side netting. In other notable chances, Brandon Randall rammed the ball over the bar from close range, while a Nick Swann corner cried out for a touch at the far post before drifting out for a goal kick. United manager Brendon King was clearly frustrated at the end of the match. His Team had dominated possession and chances, but too often let themselves down in the final third, and just lacked that quality finish when on goal. As he later admitted "That is football" and the Hammers will now have to pick themselves up for the visit of AFC Portchester on Saturday and try not to undo their generally fine start to the campaign.
Hamworthy United: A Knights, D Randall (B Walker 70), D O'Sullivan, M Buckler, N Walker (c), S Clarke, J Gleeson, E Zanin (B Randall 65), R Wilson (S Smith 60), N Swann, C Preston