Written by Maxim Jennings (@MaximJennings) from the County Ground
Hamworthy United were the victims of Alresford’s firing attacking duo as they bowed out of the Wessex League Cup after a valiant 4-3 defeat.
It was a dismal day in on the south coast which saw other local side, Poole Town, have their game called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Despite the conditions, this cup fixture at the County Ground had all the ingredients to make a memorable tie.
Just 10 minutes into the game the ball was lost on the edge of the Alresford box by their defender. He was tackled by the Hamworthy striker who rushed to the by-line, his ball was cut back and bobbled past the hands of the keeper. This was graciously mopped up by the striker and smashed in to the back of the empty net. 1-0 to the Claret and Blues.
After 20 minutes of play the Alresford goalkeeper retrieved ball and cleared it straight to a Hamworthy midfielder. The ball was played quickly into the path of the striker who shifted onto the right flank before cutting onto his right foot and crossing the ball to the back post. His cross found the head of the no.10 who glanced his effort into the bottom right hand corner. 2-0 to the home side.
Just before half an hour had been played, Alresford were awarded with a goal out of nothing. A bouncing ball ran loose from a throw-in and set-up nicely for the Magpies’ No.10 who elevated the ball with his left thigh before striking it on the volley with his right. The ball swerved into the top right hand corner of the net. A sensational strike! 2-1.
At half time the Hammers went into the break leading 2 goals to 1, a thoroughly deserved lead with the home side having the better chances and more of the possession in promising areas. The Claret and Blues were more organised at the back, orchestrating counter attacks with a quick ball out from the back into wide areas either resulting into a dangerous cross or a grounded pass. Alresford were lucky to still be in the game but a lot can change in 45 minutes.
After a strong start to the second half, Hamworthy failed to get back into their positions following a corner to the visitors. The ball was played quickly up the right flank into the home side’s defensive third. The right winger retrieved the ball and played a perfectly driven cross into the path of the no.10 who finished the ball past the Hammers keeper in a composed manner. All square!
10 minutes after Alresford had equalised, the Irvin Brown stand were on their feet once again. Hamworthy’s box-to-box midfielder instinctively drilled his low-hit effort into the bottom left corner. The Hammers were ahead with 25 minute left to play.
It only took the visitors 12 minutes to equalise, and their striker partnership proved to be decisive yet again, after slicing an outside-of-the-boot effort past the outstretched goalkeeper. The tie was level with little over 10 minutes on the clock and a place in the third round at stake.
A long throw was launched into the box and failed to be cleared. The ball ricocheted about and landed to the grateful Alresford no.9 standing just six yards out, who passed his shot into the back of the net. The away side took the lead for the first time in the game and emphasis was on Hamworthy now who had to take the initiative to get back into the game that for the most part they had dominated. 4-3 Alresford.
In added time Hamworthy moved the ball from the keeper up into the Alresford defensive third. The ball was shifted wide and lofted into the box. Whilst the ball was in the air a Hamworthy player claimed he pushed in the back by an Alresford defender, but the referee doesn’t give it. The final whistle was greeted with boos ringing around the County Ground as the Hamworthy faithful echoed their thoughts to the referee.
This cup match had it all. From a flurry of goals to unjustified refereeing decisions, a gloomy Saturday afternoon was filled with strong performances from the Alresford striking duo, whose attacking display won them the game.
On the flip side Hamworthy will feel as though they have been robbed from at least a penalty shootout with a near flawless first half performance only to be wasted with poor defensive errors which costed the Hammers heavily. Alresford advance to the third round.