Captain Kimber hits hat-trick as much-changed Horndean thrash Division 1 table-toppers Newport IoW in the Wessex League Cup
Liam Kimber struck a hat-trick as Horndean showcased their strength in depth with a Wessex League Cup thrashing of Division 1 leaders Newport IoW at Five Heads Park.
The former Hawks midfielder would be a shoe-in for most Wessex Premier Division clubs, but hasn’t been a regular for Deans in 2021/22 so far.
Handed a start as boss Michael Birmingham made 11 changes to the side that had hammered Hamble 9-0 in the FA Vase, Kimber grabbed the first three goals in Deans’ 5-0 first round victory.
Sweet strikes from George Burgess - his first since joining from Baffins Milton Rovers earlier this month - and centre half Chad Field completed a fine evening’s work and booked an attractive visit to Fareham Town in the next round.
Birmingham took the opportunity to hand three members of last season’s under-18s a second cup start inside a week - keeper Lewis Mees, midfielder Zak Brownlie and striker Evan Harris having also started in last Thursday’s Hampshire Senior Cup loss to the Royal Navy.
The manager also brought three more of last season’s youth team - Mackenzie Morgan, Laurence Cooper and Brandon McKinnon - on as second half subs, Morgan replacing Louie Martin at right-back at half-time.
Newport had made a lively start, with Connor Kelly prominent, and Emeney was called upon to make a crucial block from Liam Harper after Mees could only push out a low shot from Elias Ahmed.
At the other end, the unmarked JP Alexander was picked out at the far post by Harris, only to make a hash of his shot.
On 26 minutes, Tommy Tierney latched onto a nice through ball from Alexander but poked a shot wide as keeper Joe McCormack rushed out.
It took a great goal from Kimber to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark. Chasing what appeared a lost cause in the bottom right-hand corner going down the slope, he claimed possession, scampered into the penalty area and curled an angled shot into the far corner.
Two minutes later the captain netted again - this time beating McCormack to a far post Harris cross from inside the six-yard box.
Centre half Sam Emeney headed over from close range after McCormack had pushed a fierce Tierney shot up in the air.
Newport’s best chance of the game arrived shortly before the interval but Mees produced a fine save from Harper at the expense of a corner.
Full-back Jacob Reynolds went close on 53 minutes for the visitors, his rasping free-kick clipping the top of the crossbar.
But four minutes later Kimber completed his hat-trick, arriving at the far post again to convert a low Tierney cross.
He is not a regular marksman – his evening’s haul equalled the amount of goals he had scored in 27 league and cup appearances combined across the previous two pandemic-scarred campaigns.
There was no let-up from the hosts.
Emeney’s pass put Harris in with a sight of goal, but McCormack was equal to his chipped effort.
Horndean, however, completed their nap hand with two fine strikes from outside the 18-yard box.
First, Burgess celebrated his first start for the club - his opening appearance had been as a sub against Hamble - by volleying an attempted clearance in off McCormack’s left-hand post.
Burgess was forced off on 72 minutes after being injured by a Harper tackle which left both players requiring treatment and bringing a caution for the Newport man.
With five minutes remaining, Field - once of Portsmouth and Bognor Regis - received a crossfield pass from Tierney and unleashed a 20-yarder that flew past McCormack. Not the sort of goal you often see from a centre half at any level.
With Birmingham maintaining a constant stream of encouragement and instructions - ‘keep it moving’, ‘no foul, no foul’, ‘switch it’, his dulcet tones the loudest voice in the ground - there was no let-up for Newport as the hosts kept pressing, kept running, kept going, for the whole 90 minutes.
Possessing a manager happy to keep up those intensity levels from first whistle to last, it is no surprise Horndean have already enjoyed 7-0, 9-0 and now 5-0 wins this season.
Horndean: Mees, Martin (Morgan, 46), Helmkay, Brownlie, Emeney, Field, Kimber, Burgess (Cooper, 72), Harris, Tierney, Alexander (McKinnon, 53).
Newport: McCormack, Reynolds, Lamb, Barron, McDonough, Macarthur, Kelly, Wetherick, Harper, Ahmed, Butcher.