Hamworthy United beat AFC Stoneham 1-0 at the County Ground to remain level on points with Horndean at the top of the table.
Hamworthy United hosted AFC Stoneham at the County Ground on Saturday in what was a tense match as the Hammers ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of a Billy Walker header. Both sides saw chances cleared off the line in what was a feisty top of the table clash as Tim Sills' side went joint top of the Wessex Premier League.
A scrappy first half meant not many chances were created, with AFC Stoneham struggling to keep possession and Hamworthy playing counter attacking football. The home side came close from a Jamie Beasley free kic which was whipped in from the left hand side of the box, but eluded all his teamates and bounced wide of the back post.
With 20 minutes gone, Hamworthy capitalised from a corner – Beasley drifted a ball to the far corner and centre-back, Walker, was there to head it past Stoneham keeper, Tom Parker-Trott, for his first league goal of the season giving the Hammers a 1-0 lead.
Not long after the opening goal Stoneham strung some good passes together and made a great counter attack with winger Duarte Martins slotting the ball past Shane Murphy in the Hammers' goal but the equalising goal was ruled out for offside.
Hamworthy captain, Lee Francis, also had a shot from the edge of the box blocked on the line meaning his side took a narrow lead into break.
The second half saw Stoneham have the own effort cleared off the line. Connor Cocklin was able to acrobatically clear Cal Laycock's header ensuring the Hammers stayed in front.
Murphy was called into action soon after as Stoneham's Scott Hills cut in from the left wing to hit a low drive towrds the near post, but the Hammers' keeper was able to easily gather the ball.
Hamworthy created several more opportunities as the half went on but were unable to penetrate Parker-Trott's goal further as efforts from Cam Munn, Max Wilcock abd Tom Filkins peppered the away side's goal.
The final score was Hamworthy United 1 – 0 AFC Stoneham and the Hammers went level on points with league leaders Horndean but remain second with an inferior goal difference but do have a game in hand.
After the game, NERVE SPORT spoke to Hamworthy United Goalkeeping Coach, Ben Sullivan: “To be sitting joint top is a good place to be – much prefer to be the hunted not the hunter and have the points on the board.”
“I always anticipated this game being quite a tight affair – a crucial game for us after a run of tough games, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but the guys have played very well defensively.”
“The victory against AFC Stoneham is a massive one for us, it keeps that momentum building, it was a huge win against decent opposition who will be there or there about come the end of the season.”
Hamworthy's next game is in the FA Vase against Glebe who visit the County Ground on January 15 in the fourth round of the competition.