‘Great professional’ Louie Martin handed Horndean captain’s armband as he calls time on playing career in Wessex League win against Bournemouth Poppies

Louie Martin was handed the captain's armband as he called time on his playing career in Horndean's 4-0 Wessex League Premier victory over Bournemouth at Five Heads Park.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 10th April 2022, 3:51 pm

The defender bowed out on a high note as Connor Duffin took his league tally for the season to a stunning 40 goals in 36 outings with a hat-trick.

Zak Willett added the other - his 37th league and cup goal of a remarkable debut step 5 campaign after stepping up from two tiers lower Paulsgrove.

Martin, now in his second spell with Horndean having rejoined the club from Moneyfields in 2019, has taken the decision to hang up his boots with commitments away from football taking priority.

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Louie Martin during his final appearance for Horndean in the 4-0 Wessex League win against Bournemouth Poppies. Picture: Martyn White

Deans boss Michael Birmingham believes the 'true professional' will be a big loss to the club, but was pleased to see him bid farewell on a winning note.

'That was his last game (Louie), he's already taken himself out of the equation for Alresford next week,' said Birmingham.

'He said that if he was going to be made captain and play his last game at Five Heads Park, he didn't want to be any part of next week.

'He was absolutely outstanding for the 65-70 minutes he was on the pitch. He is a true professional.

Connor Duffin, left, and Zack Willett celebrate a goal in the 4-0 win over Bournemouth Poppies. Picture: Martyn White

'Louie's missus is pregnant and is expecting their first child, he loves horse racing, he's self-employed and has just got his first house, so there's a lot going on in Louie Martin's life at the moment.

‘He's a great professional and his attitude is absolutely brilliant.'

Duffin put Horndean - still chasing third place in the Premier Division - on the way to victory in Martin's farewell game, firing home a loose ball after just two minutes.

Willett, who had bagged a hat-trick in the previous week’s 4-0 win against Cowes, doubled the advantage after 28 minutes.

Hat-trick hero Connor Duffin in action during the 4-0 win against Bournemouth Poppies. Picture: Martyn White

It was over to strike partner Duffin again to round off the victory, firing into the bottom corner on 68 minutes and completing his hat-trick with a superb volley from Rob Taw's cross with nine minutes remaining

In order for Horndean to finish in the top three, they will need one of two things to happen next Saturday.

They will finish a point in front if they beat Alresford and Shaftesbury lose at home to Alton. Alternatively, if Shaftesbury draw then Birmingham’s men must win by at least a three-goal margin to sbatch third place on goal difference.

Horndean are assured of a third successive top four finish under Birmingham, though - they were fourth in 2017/18 and a club best second in 2018/19, the last time the Wessex season was completed pre-pandemic.