Dorset Premier League Cup (January 23rd 2008)
The score line does not reflect the game fairly, because in fact the game was much more entertaining than the final score suggests, and flattered the opposition somewhat. Keith Middleton was not helped by the fact that due to first team call ups, injuries, players being cup tied, and unavailability he was left with twelve players one of which already carried an injury, and did not include a keeper. Keith started in goal himself, but due to further injuries had to give way to Shaun Leaton at half time.
High flying Gillingham did not take long to take the lead when danger man Loic Herouard was left unmarked out on the right, The Frenchman cut inside, and fired past Keith Middleton to make it 1-0 after only eight minutes. The Hammers should have replied almost immediately, but poor finishing let Gillingham off the hook. Gary Clark playing up front was winning plenty of the ball, and the Hammers matched Gillingham in most departments except in finishing and this proved to be their downfall. Stand in keeper Middleton was caught too far off his line, and was beaten for the Town’s second goal. A six yard near post tap in gave them their third. United’s problems got worse when Gary Clark pulled up and had to hobble off with a pulled muscle to be replaced by Shaun Leaton who soon aggravated the injury he was already carrying, and was reduced to a passenger. The Hammers continued to try and play their passing game and battled well but their missed chances meant the half time score was 3-0 to the visitors instead of perhaps 3-3 if they had taken them.
With no further substitutes United were forced to put the limping Shaun Leaton in goal for the second period with Keith Middleton going into midfield. To their credit Hamworthy dominated the first ten minutes of the second half playing some attractive football, but were hit once again by another Gillingham goal in their first attack after the break. As weary limbs, an injured Keeper and cramp took over, and as they tried to battle against all the odds the Hammers were made to pay. The North Dorset Men took full advantage of the situation to score a further four goals before the end of play. The score was 8-0 at the end, but perhaps half of that would have been fairer to Keith Middleton and his men’s battling display.
Team: K. Middleton, R. Flower, D. Watts, S. Griffiths, K. Killick, D. Rudd. D. Orchard, D. Baguely, M. Wynne, G, Williams, G. Clark (S. Leaton)