‘I felt so sorry for the lads’ – Baffins Milton Rovers suffer late heartache at Wessex League champions Hamworthy United

Baffins Milton Rovers were agonisingly close to claiming a point at newly-crowned Wessex League champions Hamworthy United last night.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 10:21 am

Rovers hit back from 0-2 down at half-time to level through goals from skipper James Cowan and Harry Sargeant - only to concede a third in the dying seconds.

It was Hamworthy’s 27th win in their last 30 home league matches - the other three were drawn - in an astonishing run dating back to January 2020.

For Baffins – the only side to beat the Hammers in a league game this season - it was an 11th loss in 16 Premier Division fixtures. And for assistant manager Danny Thompson, standing in for the absent Shaun Wilkinson, it was hard to take.

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Harry Sargeant, right, netted Baffins' equaliser at champions Hamworthy last night - only for the hosts to snatch a late, late winner. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘I felt so sorry for the lads,’ Thompson told The News. ‘They deserved at least a point.

‘It was the best we have played for a long time.

‘Their fans clapped us off the pitch and were coming up to me in the bar afterwards saying the game was a great advert for the Wessex League. That was a compliment as to how well we had played.’

Thompson handed a Baffins debut to winger Tommy Patterson, who saw an effort superbly saved by Shane Murphy in the second half.

Patterson rolled his ankle late on, but with Thompson having already used his three subs went up front for nuisance value.

‘We were basically playing with 10 men for the last 10 minutes,’ he said. ‘We just ran out of steam. The lads had put in such a good shift and it had taken a lot out of us.

‘I thought we had the better of the second half. People will see on social media or read in the paper that Baffins have lost again, but the scoreline didn’t reflect our performance or the game.’

Baffins trailed at half-time, though it could have been a different story had Sargeant not fired over the bar from a great position at 1-0 down.

Murphy also produced a great stop from Tommy Scutt in the second period before Harvey Wright grabbed a late winner - the Hammers’ 100th league goal of the season.

‘It’s been the story of our season,’ Thompson added. ‘I dread to think how many goals we’ve conceded late on, and how many great chances we’ve created but not taken.

‘That’s cost us a top six finish.’

As it is, Baffins will finish eighth if they beat Hamble at home on Good Friday in their final game and Moneyfields fail to win any of their remaining two fixtures. Alternatively, they could finish 10th if they don’t beat Hamble and Alton win at Shaftesbury the following day.

Last night was only the second time in 19 home league games this season, meanwhile, that the Hammers had conceded more than one goal. It was only the fifth time in 39 Wessex fixtures they had done so, and the second time against Baffins.

Tim Sills’ champions bring the curtain down on a stunning campaign at home to Fareham Town this Saturday.

The Creeksiders are the only team to score more than two goals against Hamworthy in a league game this season, drawing 3-3 at Cams Alders in December. Fareham will be bidding to avoid conceding their 100th league goal of the season - Pete Stiles’ men have let in 96 so far.