Hamworthy Utd 4 Bemerton Heath Harlequins 4
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday April 14th 2018)
Hamworthy were at a slight disadvantage having not been able to play for over three weeks due to the bad weather. Bemerton on the other hand managed to play four games in that period and so were probably the more match fit of the two teams. United had already beaten the Quins twice earlier in the season fairly comfortably. They won at home in the FA Cup 4-1, and1-3 away in the league game at Western Way. Harlequins however after having a poor start to the season have greatly improved, and have cemented a healthy top-half position. Due to Andy Knights’s injury, the Hammers' Reserve and U18 keeper Shane Cooper should now be able to gain valuable experience from playing in the few remaining senior games. Eddie Hodge and Darren Watts were both available again, and the captaincy was handed to Billy Walker, NathanWalker being suspended.
The County Ground has certainly been the place to find goals in recent weeks, and it took only five minutes to see the the net bulge once again. Following good work by Jamie Beasley and Darren Watts, Dan Cann's powerful strike from the edge of the area flew wide of Rob Crossley, and into the back of the net. The Quins were back in the match only three minutes later. Woeful United defending allowed the unmarked Kelvin Robinson to convert an easy chance from close range, past the helpless Shane Cooper. This had followed a low teasing cross into the six yard box from Jake Rawkins, who himself had been set up by a precision through ball by captain Jake Burgess. The Hammers regained the lead on the quarter hour when Darren Watts's superbly crafted shot from distance found the top corner of the net. Seven minutes later the Darren Watts again made it 3-1, with another neat top corner finish after a good move involving Hodge and Cann. Remarkably the Quins pulled the score back to 3-2 on 27 minutes, again after poor Hammers' defending. They allowed Jordan Matthews a way through to latch on to a clever Rawkins through ball before slotting the ball home at the near post, and over the dive of the advancing Shane Cooper. The score soon had the ring a school playground affair when United made it 4-2 on the half hour, when Dan Cann completed the second United brace of the afternoon, slotting the ball in at the far post after a neat lay-off by Hodge. The crazy first half scoring antics were still not over; the visitors pulling the score back to 4-3 just before half time. Bremerton’s JakeRawkins who had dominated the midfield, and had been given the freedom of the park beat Luke Ansell for pace with another well timed run. He then shot the ball in off the right hand post to score. United almost added a fifth when Watts's lob followed a cheeky back heel by Cann, but this was pushed out for a corner by the back tracking Crossley.
While the second period was never likely to produce another goal feast, both teams continued to play open football, but it was the visitors who now looked the more dangerous. Cooper soon made two fine saves, including tipping a difficult free kick from Jake Rawkins onto the post. He was eventually beaten midway through the half by a Jack Slade header from a long free kick, but it was ruled offside. Edgar Zanin's appearance gave United more width in attack, but they were always prone to leaving gaps at the back. Just as it looked as if the Hammers had held out for the three points, Bemerton grabbed an equalizer in what seemed to be excessive injury time (ten minutes). The again unmarked Jake Burgess at the far post powerfully headed home a corner into the roof of the net. There was barely time for a kick-off before the final whistle blew. There was a clear air of despondency in the United camp after the match. Four well worked goals deserving to win any game, was again undone by some very poor defending, and for not keeping the ball when in possession in the final few minutes. It was clearly a case of two points dropped as United's tame end to the season continued. United should however still finish in the top six which was their main aim at the start of the season, but looking back it could and should have been better.
Hamworthy United: S Cooper, D Randall, J Filkins, E Hodge, L Ansell, B Walker (c), J Gleeson, M Buckler (E Zanin 70), D Watts, D Cann, J Beasley. Unused: S. Smith, O. Nicholson