Newport (I.O.W. 1 Hamworthy United 2
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 17th February 2018)
Hamworthy were aiming for their best ever league position, whilst Newport who are destined to leave their St George's home next season, also needed the points to help in their relegation battle. However, the Port had proved their pedigree recently by reaching the last 32 in the FA Vase, and would not be easy opponents. Billy Walker and Eddie Hodge were both unavailable for United, but Jamie Filkins returned after injury and Steve Smith was now fit enough to make the bench.
As the game got underway, both teams had trouble controlling the ball on a damp pitch, the lush appearance being a little deceptive. However there were still a few half chances at either end, both goalkeepers being kept alert. Newport wasted two decent early chances. Kelly beat Andy Knights to a bouncing ball on the edge of the area, but defenders were back in time to clear the danger. Jamie's Beasley's over-hit back pass put Port's Tattersall clear, but his scuffed shot across goal was well gathered by Andy Knights. United's closest effort came on the half hour. Dan Cann's free header from Darren Watts's free kick agonizingly rebounded off the post. The Port eventually did break the deadlock one minute into first half injury time. Sam Clarke conceded a free kick near the corner flag, and poor United marking allowed Jared Wetherick to powerfully head Kelly's dead ball kick into the roof of the net, leaving Knights helpless.
The second half started with a little more pace, and with the Port looking to be more in control. Ten minutes in, Urry's excellent curler from distance looked to be creeping in, but this time it was the post that rescued Hamworthy. United's job was made that bit harder when Jamie Gleeson was controversially dismissed for a second yellow. The Hammers regrouped, and moved Nathan Walker up front. However his 70th minute free kick went straight into the chest of Gary Streeter, making his 300th appearance for Newport. With ten minutes to go Jamie Beasley was put clean through by Dan Cann, but he lofted the ball well over the bar as Streeter came out. The game however tuned on a remarkable two minute spell with just five minutes left. First, Knights dived magnificently to tip over Wetherick's fierce volley close range, and then the resulting corner was cleared right down the pitch. It conveniently found Cann who headed the ball into the path of Nathan Walker. The United captain, some 18 yards from goal, rifled the ball hard and low into the far right corner of the net past the burly Streeter who was never going to get down in time. Just as it seemed the Hammers had rescued a point, on 89 minutes they grabbed all three, remarkably involving the same pairing of players in reverse. Walker powerfully headed out a corner which reached Dan Cann who then beat his marker in the middle of the park. With defenders chasing back, the determined Cann ran the ball down the pitch before beating the advancing Streeter with a cool powerful low finish, again just inside the right post. An exodus of disappointed home fans from Newport's grandstand told the story. The Hammers however still had to show some discipline, and not throw away the lead. They did so by containing the ball well near the corner flag as they played out time, and with Walker now back in defence. The final result was perhaps a little hard on Newport, but credit must also go to a never-say-die United for once again pulling the iron out of the fire so late on so late in the game.
Hamworthy United: A Knights, D Randall, C Clarke, E Zanin (O Nicholson 75), N Walker (c), S Clarke, J Gleeson, J Filkins, D Watts, D Cann, J Beasley
Unused Subs: S Smith, D Pidgely