HAMWORTHY UNITED 1 ANDOVER TOWN 4
Sydenhams Premier League Saturday 17th March 2018
The Hammers were chasing a top four finish, and were hosting the runaway league leaders. To add extra spice, one of Town's only four league defeats, and their only one at home, was inflicted by United in early December. Eddie Hodge was back from University, and Luke Ansell, previously with Lymington Town, figured among the substitutes. Darren Watts was on holiday. Andover included ex-Hammers Connor Cocklin and Michael Hubbard.
The Town, who had already twice called Andy Knights into action, opened the scoring on 12 minutes with a fine strike. Mike Gosney's cheeky back heel near the left hand touch line found Jason Silver in space who then tried his luck with a long distance curler. With the wind behind it, the ball went sailing over Knights, and into the top far corner of the net. United now upped their game, and were creating more chances of their own. It was however the Town's finishing that generally looked the more polished. Knights again made two good saves, including an excellent tip-over from Ben Cook. The Hammers' improved work rate did however lead to parity on 38 minutes, with a well crafted goal started by Eddie Hodge. He slipped the ball forward to Jamie Beasley, who then made a slide-rule pass across goal bisecting the goalkeeper and defence before being firmly dispatched into the net by Dan Cann. Knights again did well to save as Reece Rusher cut in. The attendance of 96 who had braved the freezing weather would have been well impressed with the first half standard of football played by both sides
After the break nothing changed, with both keepers making good saves. Knights advanced off his line to superbly read Cook's shot after he had found himself in the clear. At the other end Cairney saved well from Hodge, but was relieved to see Cann miss what looked to be an easy chance from close range. The game was to turn in dramatic style in the 74th minute. Cairney did well to dive and get a hand on Cann's strike. The resulting push out presented what should have been an easy tap in for Jamie Beasley, but somehow the United man blasted his shot wide of the far post. The goal kick was played on into the path of substitute Immanuel Soetan who with his first touch found the top left corner of the net with an unstoppable shot from distance. United, who were so nearly a goal up, were now a goal down. A minute later Billy Walker slammed a loose ball against the bar, before play was diverted to the other end which resulted in another Town goal. In the 78th minute Soetan again found the net from the rebound after Silver's shot had been blocked. Two minutes later the same player competed what must be one of the quickest hat tricks seen at the County Ground. After another assist from Glasspool, Soetan's effort ricocheted off the inside of the far post, before nestling just inside the net at the opposite post. The woodwork had cursed the hosts again, and this enabled the visitors to enjoy a somewhat flattering final score line. Frustrated boss Brendon King, the deserved recipient of February manager of the month award, was adamant that in no way were the Town three goals better than Hamwrthy. Until Soetan's remarkable cameo, Andover would have probably settled for a draw. It was however the Town that took their chances when they came and this is why they are the champions elect. F/T 1-4
Hamworthy United: A Knights, D Randall, C Clarke, E Hodge, N Walker (c), S Clarke, J Gleeson (S Smith 75), B Walker, J Filkins (M Buckler 80), D Cann, J Beasley
Unused Subs: E Zanin, L Ansell