Birmingham in seventh heaven after recording joint best-win as Horndean manager
Michael Birmingham was in seventh heaven after recording his joint-best win as Horndean boss.
Former Paulsgrove striker Zac Willett struck twice as the Deans hammered Hamble Club 7-0 at Five Heads Park.
It was a remarkable result given Hamble had previously drawn with AFC Portchester and new-look Shaftesbury in Wessex League Premier Division action.
Harry Jackson, Sam Emeney, Connor Duffin, Ben Anderson and sub Liam Kimber also scored in what was Horndean’s first game since their FA Cup exit at Portchester a fortnight earlier.
The scoreline equalled the club’s best win since Birmingham took over in the summer of 2016-17 - a 7-0 home win over relegated Newport IoW in the final game of his first campaign.
Jackson, Duffin and Kimber were also on target in that match as well.
Willett also hit the crossbar and Deans had two goals disallowed as they fell just short of hitting eight for the first time since Torr Spicer hit five in an 8-2 Wessex 1 drubbing of Fleet Spurs in March 2011.
‘Hamble aren’t a bad side,’ said Birmingham. ‘Even the best teams have bad days.
‘We played with a good intensity and were aggressive going forward. Something just clicked. We’d have given most sides a good game.
‘We played well - we seemed to have got the Portchester game out of our system straight away.’
Birmingham gave a Wessex debut to two former Baffins defenders - Emeney at centre half and Brandon Miller at right-back.
It was Willett, though, who caught the eye after stepping up from the Hampshire Premier League in the summer.
He had previously scored in the cup loss at Portchester and caused the Royals defence problems with his pace on the left side.
‘He hasn’t surprised me at all,’ said Birmingham.
‘I’d watched him play for Paulsgrove and for his Sunday side Southsea United, I knew what he could do.
‘He wants to listen and learn and he’ll get better. We’ll be working with him to make his game a bit less predictable - not just ‘here’s the lad with pace.’’
Horndean are inactive this midweek as Hampshire Senior Cup opponents the Royal Navy have asked to move their tie back a fortnight.
Deans’ next Wessex fixture is an attractive trip to table-topping Bashley next Saturday.