Hamworthy United 2 Shaftesbury 1
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 27th January 2018)
United were hoping to make it nine league wins in twelve, in a remarkable run that has seen them climb to third place, although having played more games than most of their rivals. This included a 0-2 win at Shaftesbury in mid-November. Their once Dorset Combination rivals have certainly not disgraced themselves since gaining back to back promotions to the Wessex Premier this season. Before this game they sat in a handy ninth place, and were unbeaten this year. Jamie Gleeson's hamstring was still not 100% and Dan Cann was on holiday, but United were still able to utilise their big squad with starts for Jamie Filkins and Steve Smith.
The hosts had most of the early possession, with Shaftesbury's stopper Dan Card pushing out a low strike from Darren Watts. Jamie Beaseley's cross, though perhaps more by chance, ended up coming back off the bar, before Card again saved well from Eddie Hodge. However Hamworthy keeper Andy Knights showed he too was in form, needing to be at full stretch to tip over a dipping shot by Jack Mitchell. Jamie Filkins was then teed up nicely by Chris Clarke, but once again Card got down well to save superbly with his legs. The game did tend to get a bit scrappy and petulant towards the end of the half. The Hammers if anything did look the more likely to score, but were only playing well in patches against a stubborn opposition.
The game soon livened up after the break, with home keeper Knights saving well at his near post from Sam Adetiba, who had been played in by Robert Hatchard. However, his opposite number Card, who was having a fine match, then produced another good save from Watts. With the game finely balanced, it was the Hammers who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes. Jamie Beasley's close range finish to Chris Clarke's cross from the right, took a wicked deflection into the net off the boot of Shaftesbury man Aarron White. One had to feel sympathy for the busy keeper Card who otherwise may well have saved it. Just after that Card made another point blank save from Filkins who had been put through by Eddie Hodge. The Hammers doubled their lead on 65 minutes. If there was any doubt whether the first goal was to go down in the records as an own goal, there was no doubt about the second. Sam Clarke's cross, again from the right, was somehow turned upwards and into his own net by Jason Beal. This was despite of a valiant leap by Card, who could not quite reach the ball. Most of the pressure was now coming from Hamworthy. Shaftesbury did however manage to pull a goal back in the 87th minute. Knights first moved superbly to push over a venomous shot by Nick Hewlett. However, from Adam Flint's resulting corner, Martin Shroeder powered home a close range header. Knights again did well to instinctively get his palms to the ball, and almost kept it out. Hamworthy held on for a nervy final few minutes to claim the win, but certainly knew that they had been in a battle. Both goalkeepers had outstanding games, Card standing out more, if only because he had been much the busier. It was cruel luck for him to be beaten by two own goal deflections that he could do nothing about. Though the Hammers were not at their best and never really got into a proper rhythm, the three points could prove valuable in the rankings come the end of the season.
Hamworthy United: A Knights, S Clarke, C Clarke, E Hodge (O Nicholson 80), N Walker (c), B Walker, J Filkins (C Preston 65), M Buckler, D Watts, S Smith, J Beasley
Unused Subs: D Randall