Hamworthy United 1 Sholing 0
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 6th January 2018)
This looked to be a close encounter, third placed Sholing being just two points and one place above the Hammers. Both teams were also in fine form. Sholing had not lost in the league since 23rd September, spanning twelve matches which included a convincing 3-0 win against an out-of-form Hamworthy in late October. The Hammers have since got their act together, winning seven of their last eight contests. Nick Swann was unwell, but Sam Clarke returned after a long term injury. The Hammers' strong bench included new signing Jamie Beasley who has seen service with Poole Town, Portland and Dorchester.
The first period was frankly dull. Both teams tended to cancel each other out in the middle of the park, but Hamworthy had the better of the few chances that went begging. A decent early opportunity fell to Dan Cann who blazed over from a good position. Later on, Carl Preston's high curling cross ended up, if more by chance, just missing the far upright. Although United looked the hungrier, they never really looked like finding a way past Sholing's tall dominant centre half Dan Miller, and their competent keeper Ryan Gosney. Meanwhile home stopper Nick Jones did not have to make a first half save of note. In a rare Sholing sortie on the half hour, Sam Clarke at the far post did well to head out for a corner Jamie Bulpitt's dangerous cross. At least for the decent crowd of 102, things could only get more entertaining in the second half.
The second period did start with more tempo, mostly coming from the hosts. Ryan Gosney was soon called into making some excellent saves, the best of which was changing direction late to keep out a deflection off Chris Clarke from Darren Watts' original goal bound strike. On 50 minutes Sam Clarke, who had bravely played on after a painful tussle for a high 50:50 ball with Jamie Bulpitt in the first half, was forced to retire, and was replaced by Jamie Filkins. On the hour mark, Nick Jones was at last called into serious action, beating out Dan Mason's shot on the run, who had followed up a long hopeful clearance by Gosney. Jones then got down well to gather an effort from Jake Hoole which had taken an awkward bounce in front of him. This only punctuated United's pressure which finally paid dividends on 75 minutes. Ironically their two substitutes were involved. The Boatmen gave the ball away cheaply to Carl Preston who found substitute Jamie Beasley with space on the left. Beasley cleverly headed the ball into the path of the other substitute Jamie Filkins near the edge of the "D". The United man's goal bound strike then took a big upward deflection off the backside of Dan Cann before finding the net past the committed Gosney. This was probably the only way the Sholing stopper was going to be beaten. The galvanized United continued to press forward, but were unable to find a way past Gosney a second time before the final whistle. Equally, the boatmen never looked like replying. Despite the rather barren first half, this was a fine all round performance by United, who passed the ball well, playing against a team with undoubted ability, but who were never let get into their stride. The Sholing keeper was certainly by far the busier, and it was largely down to him that the Hammers were pegged to a one goal victory, but enough to swap places with the Boatmen.
Hamworthy Utd: N Jones, S Clarke (J Filkins 50), C Clarke, E Hodge (J Beasley 65), N Wallker (c), B Walker, J Gleeson, M Buckler, D Watts, D Cann, C Preston
Unused Subs: A Knights (gkp), B Randall, S Smith.