Fareham Town 1 Hamworthy United 0
Sydenhams Premier League (Saturday 21st April 2018)
United made the trip to south Hampshire still hoping to better their best ever league finish of 6th under Alex Pike in 2005/2006. The Hammers had won the home fixture 2-0 back in August during their excellent start to the season, but their trips to Cams Alders over the years have not very fruitful. This time though the safely placed Town were in the middle of a hectic bunch of fixtures. They had played twice in midweek, so maybe the Hammers could exploit some tired legs. Captain Nathan Walker returned from suspension, with Darren Watts, so impressive at Amesbury in midweek, unavailable. Missing also were regulars Ed Hodge and Jamie Gleeson, but United welcomed the Reserve top striker Sam Carter to the bench.
On a much better looking pitch than the one Hamworthy had endured in midweek, it was the hosts who opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock. Callum Lacock got a free header, a few yards from the centre of goal, to Ashley Tattersall's well floated corner. The ball then looped into the top of the net to make it 1-0. The United defence was left to berate another defensive mix up after keeper Shane Cooper had been flattened after colliding with team-mate Nathan Walker prior to the goal. United were strong and threatening in response, despite a tendency to over-hit the final ball. Steve Smith saw his pinpoint header from Jamie Firkin’s cross superbly pushed out by Del Harding, who dived to the right acrobatically to make the save. Fareham threatened more in the latter stages of the half, with two very near misses. However, five minutes before half time, they were given a golden opportunity to double their lead. The Referee pointed to the penalty spot after Nathan Walker was adjudged to have used his arms to climb on Gary Austin. Billy Walker was booked for remonstrating, but, in the end it all turned out to be academic because Curt Robbins blazed the spot kick well over the bar. The Hammers were still very much at the races at half time, with hopefully a psychological boost from knowing that the deficit could easily have been two.
United were soon back in control after the break, Harding making another fine save low down from Smith, who had been put through by Jamie Beasley. However Smith might perhaps have fared better had he been able to put more meat on the shot. At the other end, during a brief Fareham respite, Cooper was called into making two good saves. He parried out a free kick from Jay Eames, but was no doubt relieved that no Town player had been able to follow it up. He then had to be alert to beat out a cross-come-shot from Tattersall at his near post. From then on, it was almost one way United traffic. Midway through the half, a missed clearance presented a chance on a plate to Beasley, who was positioned right in front of goal. However keeper Harding made himself big and the shot cannoned off his legs. A desperate United kept piling forward, but the ball was just destined not to go into the net. Dan Cann put an easy header just wide with the goal at his mercy, and they twice hit the woodwork, one from substitute Sam Carter looking to open his Wessex account. They also had a shot cleared off the line right at the death. This was not to be the Hammers' day against a poor if dogged Town outfit, whose best player was their keeper. However with Horndean and Portchester dropping points, a top five finish was still a possibility.
Hamworthy United: S Cooper, D Randall, J Filkins, B Walker, N Walker (c), S Clarke, E Zanin (B Lake 55), M Buckler, S Smith, D Cann, J Beasley (S Carter 70)
Unused Subs: L Bragginton, D Pidgley