Hamworthy United 0 Blackfield & Langley 2
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 09-12-17)
Having conquered the league leaders the previous Saturday, Hamworthy now had a chance to produce another surprise against the second placed team B&L. However they would have to make do this time without Max Buckler and Dan Cann, both on holiday. Wth a strong squad in depth these days, they could still hopefully still give the Watersiders a stern contest. The visitors included Rico Wilson in their substitutes, who had played a few games for the Hammers this season.
It was the Watersiders who stood out in the opening stages. An early free kick by Lewis Tallack set up a free header for Sam Poole that just missed the target. United stopper Nick Jones then got down low to save from Sam Griffin, and held onto a free kick from Liam Robinson. A header from Connor Doe later grazed the top netting. The visitors duly opened the scoring on 38 minutes from the penalty spot, but this was not without some controversy. There was no doubting that Jamie Gleeson's tenacious challenge on Sami Makhloufi on the edge of penalty area was a foul. However some United players clearly felt that, although the player had gone to ground inside the box, the actual contact had been made just outside it. This was a view even endorsed by some Blackfield supporters who happened to be in line with play. However, this did not concern Liam Robinson who slammed the spot kick high into the centre of the net. B&L were soon celebrating again what appeared to be their second goal on the stroke of half time, but a late flag for offside saved Hamworthy. The Hammers then produced their best move of the match, with a long build up involving many players. It ended with a 20 yard shot by Eddie Hodge which, although tame, was at least on target, and needed to be headed away for a corner by the aptly positioned Tallack. United were not quite out of the race at half time, but, the visitors just seemed to have that bit of extra class, playing as a team and always looking the greater threat.
The second period continued in much the same way as the first. United pushed forward for an equalizer, but the visitors' well organized defence meant that very little got through. Meanwhile Jones was relieved to see a ferocious diagonal shot from Plummer just miss the far post. The Keeper then made a good block to deny Robinson. It was no surprise when the visitors did double their lead on 74 minutes, although again in curious circumstances. Billy Walker deserved better, having stuck to Lerone Plummer as he sped through towards goal, and did enough to force the B&L man into toe ending the softest of shots. Jones would have saved it 99 times in a 100, but perhaps already shaping to distribute the ball, allowed it to gently roll through his hands and into the net. The Hammers now left even more spaces at the back in their pursuit of goals, but that extra pressure was easily soaked up, and allowed B&L further chances on the break. Wilson missed an absolute sitter, while Jones positioned himself well to force Robinson to shoot over from the edge of the penalty area. Hamworthy did well not to concede further goals before the final whistle. There was no shortage of effort by United, but, perhaps missing the influence of Dan Cann, they offered little bite up front. A fifth successive league win always looked a bridge too far. Their opponents were certainly good value on the day for their two goal victory.
Hamworthy United: N Jones, J Filkins, C Clarke, E Hodge, N Walker (C), B Walker, J Gleeson, N Swann (B Randall 85), S Smith (C Jevon 70), D Watts, C Preston
Unused Subs: D Randall