Rough grabs the only goal as Hayling claim first Hampshire Premier League win of the season against Clanfield
A second half goal from George Rough gave Hayling United their first Hampshire Premier League victory of the season.
The striker latched onto a sublime through ball from Adam Clark to slip a 58th minute shot under advancing Clanfield keeper Ash Wright for the only goal of a tight Senior Division game at Hayling College.
It was a match of few clear-cut chances and Rough’s decider gave a handful of Humbugs players their second single-goal win against Clanfield in four days.
Skipper Elliott Spencer, new signing George Gregory, Joe Boxall and Clark had played for Hayling reserves at the weekend in their 1-0 Hampshire Combination East home win over Clanfield.
Spencer was back on the left-hand side of a central defensive trio for his first HPL game of 2020/21 after recovering from a rib injury.
Clark was handed a central midfield role and Gregory and Boxall were both introduced as second half subs.
Hayling boss Dan Bishop also welcomed wing-backs Josh Elmes and Ben Metherell back into the starting XI after injury forced them out of a 3-1 weekend loss at Overton.
But he was still missing injured pair Dan Goodsell – last season’s top scorer – and 2019/20 players’ player of the season Harry Frost.
Bishop had to switch to a flat back four at Overton, but switched to a favoured 3-5-2 formation with Elmes on the left and Metherell on the right against Clanfield.
The hosts entered the contest with just one point from three games, while Clanfield had struck nine goals in two straight wins - albeit against Chamberlayne and Lyndhurst, the two bottom clubs.
Despite enjoying a good share of possession, Lee Blakely’s men struggled to create many openings in front of a good-sized crowd.
One of their best chances came on 12 minutes when Owen Milne fired in a cross from the right which Mauro Morais headed wide at the back post.
The pacy Milne offered the visitors their best chance of a breakthrough and he fired in a shot which Chris Clark parried.
Clanfield were forced into a central defensive change on 36 minutes when skipper Billy Ashmore went off injured, with Ross Caldwell moving back into defence in his place.
Hayling should have taken the lead a few minutes later when Rough found himself clear in front of goal, but wastefully fired high and wide with only Wright to beat.
There were even fewer chances in the second period, with Hayling’s three-man defence of Spencer, Jono Collington and Lewis Buxton doing a good job on Morais and Milne, who had netted six goals between them in the first three matches.
Clanfield won a succession of free-kicks in the wide midfield areas in both halves, but without ever seriously troubling keeper Clark.
The Humbugs had a great chance to double their lead in the closing minutes but Gregory - introduced into the action just before the goal - couldn’t direct his close range header from Metherell’s inviting cross on target.
Gregory then fired wide from the edge of the area.
Hayling: C Clark, Metherell, Elmes, Buxton, Spencer, Collington, Topple, A Clark, Rough, Watts, Neal.
Clanfield: Wright, Devaney, Hampshire, Amos, Ashmore, Byerley, Caldwell, Glover, Milne, Morais, Barker.