Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Willand Rovers v Hamworthy United 05/01/19

Willand Rovers 1 Hamworthy United 0

ON a playing surface that did not look ideal the white shirted home side made the brighter start but it was Hamworthy who fashioned the first real attempt on goal when a looping header by Dan Cann was tipped over the corner of post and bar by keeper Mike Searle. Willand responded with a cross from Luke Alden that was volleyed over the bar at the far post by Luke Mortimore and Dean Stamp failed to make contact with another cross from the same player. A Hamworthy free kick and corner came to nothing as the game went from end to end with nobody on either side seemingly able to hold the ball in the middle of the field.

The ground was closely surrounded on three sides by houses in to which the ball, or balls, frequently disappeared – one “clearance” probably went in to the next Estate down – and one can only assume they were all recovered at some stage. Willand’s number eleven, Luke Alden, was a constant threat on the left flank but it was the other number eleven, Hamworthy’s Oliver Balmer, who came close to breaking the deadlock, fastening on to a long throw and being denied by a “Schmeichel” type leap by goalkeeper Searle who followed that by going down quickly at Eddie Hodge’s feet after a poor back pass.

The visitors then won two corners in quick succession with Nathan Walker’s header landing on the roof of the net and a snapshot by Sam Bayston grazed the crossbar. At the other end Mortimore showed neat control when reaching a long goal kick but pulled his shot across the goal and the half ended with a scramble in the home area during which a Cann header was hooked off the line. HT 0-0

Hamworthy had probably enjoyed the better of the opening forty five minutes and started the second half in the same vein until the tenth minute when it went horribly wrong. Alden won and took a corner that was partially cleared and Rob Norrish’s fierce drive through a crowded area went off keeper Rees’s feet and over the bar. The resultant corner was played short, Josh Searle provided the cross and the entire Hamworthy defence appeared to freeze as MORTIMORE headed home past the stranded goalkeeper from inside the six yard box. Rees then collected a booking after going to the edge of his area to block Stamp – whether the caution was for the challenge or handball was unclear – before the visitors twice came close to an equaliser.

A long run by Hodge provided a shooting chance for Balmer with Searle saving at full stretch and Bayston perhaps had an even better chance but beat the goalkeeper and the far post. Despite further pressure the claret and blue Hammers could not fashion another clear opening and Willand should have doubled their lead as the visiting defence was caught square. Stamp made the initial break before setting Mortimore free but the winger rolled the ball past the advancing Rees and the wrong side of the post. Hamworthy threw everything at the home defence in the closing minutes but Searle in the home goal showed a safe pair of hands throughout, though he is one of the growing band of goalkeepers who deem it necessary to annoyingly throw themselves on the ground every time they get the ball. Three minutes of stoppage time made no difference and it was joy for the home side and an attendance approaching two hundred and fifty at the final whistle.

A nice place and nice people. The game was not a classic – Cup ties rarely are – and on the day the result was probably right. Commiserations to Hamworthy and all good luck to Willand in the next round. FT 1-0