Report from Dan Davis (@dan_davis20) at Victoria Park
Bournemouth Poppies recovered from a frustrating first half to down Hamworthy Recreation and advance to the next round of the Bournemouth Senior Cup.
Chris Long has fired the visitors into the lead on 24 minutes, firing a spot kick high into the roof of the net after home goalkeeper Sam Reilly had conceded a penalty.
But Poppies rallied after the interval, advancing into the next round of another domestic competition after an equaliser from George Hatch and maiden strike from new signing Sami Garcia. The bright Tomasaku Murayama rounded off the scoreline after blasting in off the crossbar, brushing aside a battling Hamworthy Recreation outfit.
Poppies manager Michael Cuffie boasted several changes to the starting XI after Saturday’s stalemate with Hamble. Shot stopper Reilly was handed his first competitive appearance of the season along with Garcia, and Jake Harvey, Tom Mallet, Joe Stacey and George Hatch also lined up from the start.
After only a couple of minutes, Hamworthy suffered a killer blow after an injury to their first choice goalkeeper Aaron Robertson. An outfield player duly put on the jersey for the visitors for the entirety of the match, and even ensured his side remained level for the majority of the opening period.
In just the early stages, Poppies hitman Steve Flynn carved out two openings – a header flicked narrowly wide across the face of goal, before he stabbed over the crossbar from close range.
Hamworthy’s substitute was once again found in unrelenting form moments later, after parrying a powerful header directed at goal on 12 minutes. A goalmouth scramble shortly followed, but neither Ron Frost, who captained the side once again in Chris Speers’ absence, Stacey or Flynn could apply the finishing touch.
But the visitors superbly rode out Poppies’ pressure and soon began to piece together attacks of their own. A flowing move towards the penalty area resulted in George Webb pulling the trigger, but the midfielder’s dragged effort was deflected away from danger.
Frost then handedly produce the tie’s next opening, driving forward through the centre of the park and letting loose a weak, curling shot. The ball bounced awkwardly in front of Hamworthy’s gloveman, who was alert to tip onto the crossbar and prevent the home side from breaking the deadlock.
Four minutes later, and Poppies would find themselves behind. A clipped delivery into the box was latched onto by a Hamworthy attacker, who drew a challenge from shot stopper Reilly. Referee Niall Clinton pointed to the spot, and Long stepped up confidently to send his opponent the wrong way and fire Hamworthy into the lead.
After the opener, the tie became an entertaining, open contest with both sides going close to finding the back of their respective nets. Firstly, Stacey’s in swinging corner on 27 minutes was flicked towards Flynn, who could only head over the crossbar from 10 yards. Josh Rose then went close for Hamworthy, sliding an effort narrowly wide of Reilly’s near post.
Poppies’ attacking prowess finally paid off, however, four minutes before the break. Hatch opened his account for the season, coolly steering a shot low across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
A handful of changes from Cuffie at the half-time interval saw Poppies begin to dominate the early exchanges of the second period. Zintany deflected drive whistled beyond the woodwork a couple of minutes after the restart, before Garcia hooked over from a couple of yards from goal.
But Hamworthy refused to exit the competition without battling for a result, and Long came close to restoring the visitors’ lead. Poppies’ Murayama almost provided the perfect response at the other end soon after, but blasted over the target from close range.
On 65 minutes, the home side would eventually take the lead, Garcia bursting infield and tapping home a drilled cross into the unguarded net – his first for the Victoria Park side.
Frost was heavily involved as the game progressed, first firing into the grateful gloves of Hamworthy’s goalkeeper before being beaten by Webb, who failed to trouble Reilly. Substitute Jordan Basing then dragged wide of goal, in another warning shot for a high-flying Poppies outfit.
The in-form forward Mickey Finch, introduced at half-time, should have sealed a place in the next round of the cup twice with just ten minutes left to play. Finch volleyed over the bar from the outskirts of the penalty area, before breezing beyond three covering Hamworthy defenders and narrowly tapping wide of the far post.
But victory was ensured on 87 minutes through the lively Murayama. The tricky Japanese striker raced into the penalty area, cut back superbly past a sliding defender and slammed the ball in off the crossbar.
Poppies: Reilly (GK), Garcia, Mallett, Head, Harvey, Roushbaiani, Frost, Zintany, Stacey, Hatch, Flynn
Unused substitutes: Jones (GK)