Super sub Hammond boosts Denmead’s hopes of a top two finish in first ever Hampshire Premier League campaign
Sub Kieran Hammond struck twice late on as Denmead took a huge step towards a top two finish in their debut Hampshire Premier League campaign.
The striker netted on 77 and 81 minutes against Andover New Street Swifts as Paul Goddard’s men collected a 10th win in 12 Division 1 games to remain three points clear of Moneyfields Reserves at the top.
More importantly, though, the win put Denmead 10 points clear of an Andover side who have three games in hand.
Denmead only have two games left - the first of which is against title favourites Moneys at Dover Road next weekend.
‘It was a fantastic result,’ said Goddard of the 2-0 Andover success at Front Lawn. ‘It was probably our best performance of the season if I’m being honest.
‘At this stage of the season I would much rather have the points on the board.’
Denmead keeper Prad Bains kept another clean sheet - his eighth in his last 11 league appearances.
Since November 16, Bains has only conceded five goals in almost 1,000 minutes of HPL action.
‘We’ve never really shipped that many goals,’ said Goddard, whose side were playing in the Meon Valley Sunday League last year.
‘It helps with the structure that our back three have played together for a while - Brad Simmonds, Ryan Daunton and Ben Lucas.’
Denmead currently have no idea whether runners-up spot would be good enough for promotion.
Moneys are expected to collect automatic promotion as champions - though they are three points adrift of Denmead, they have six games in hand.
Should they beat Denmead this weekend, Andover could still overtake the latter and claim second place if they win all their games in hand (none of which are against Moneys).
‘All we can do is try and finish as high as we can and see where that takes us,’ said Goddard.
Moneys collected a 13th win in 14 matches with a 5-0 win at winless Netley Central at the weekend.
George Gregory and Harvey Cooper both scored twice, with Jake Knight completing the nap hand.
AFC Petersfield completed their Division 1 fixtures by losing 3-0 at QK Southampton - all the goals coming in the first 21 minutes.
Petersfield will finish bottom for the third time in five seasons – they have been second-botom in the other two campaigns – if Netley can pick up seven points from their remaining seven games.
Denmead are still waiting to confirm the date of their Portsmouth Senior Cup quarter final tie with Moneyfields.
They had booked next Wednesday, March 18, at Locks Heath FC as Front Lawn is unavailable in midweek.
Moneys have yet to confirm, though, and are due to host Sholing in a Southern League game 24 hours earlier.
The winners will host Fareham Town in the semi-final.