US Portsmouth bid to spring biggest shock of the Wessex League Premier season against unbeaten Hamworthy

US Portsmouth will this weekend aim to pull off the most surprising result of the Wessex League Premier Division campaign.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 9:31 am
Tom Jeffes (maroon/blue) was deployed in a striking role from the start for the first time this season at Portchester in midweek. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Tom Grice’s side - in the bottom five after a poor run of results - host a Hamworthy United side protecting the top flight’s last remaining unbeaten record.

The bare facts do not make good reading for US. Hamworthy have only lost one of their last 26 league matches, stretching back to the start of the ill-fated 2020/21 season, winning 21 of them.

The Hammers have scored 81 goals in that time and conceded just 17 - US, in total contrast, have conceded 18 in just their last six league fixtures!

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It is almost a year since Tim Sills’ men last lost a league game, on November 3 2020, and their only loss this season in any competition was to higher tier Cirencester in the FA Cup. They have already thumped US 5-0 in Dorset in league action.

Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at AFC Portchester was US’ seventh league defeat in eight games, and for Grice it was a painful case of deja vu. Not for the first time this term his side matched more illustrious opponents for the first 45 minutes before being overrun as the second half progressed.

As at Portchester, US had been level at 1-1 at Moneyfields, only to also lose 4-1, while they conceded four goals in the last 12 minutes to crash 6-1 at Fareham.

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‘It’s the story of our life,’ rued Grice with regards to their latest loss. ‘We had an honest conversation after the game.

‘A lot of it stems from fitness. When you’re tired, you start to make mistakes and you don’t make the runs you were doing.

‘We took it to them (Portchester), we were moving the ball well, then we sat off and let them back in it.

‘It was really frustrating, but they were worthy winners in the end. Games are over 45 minutes, not 90 - that’s a simple fact.

‘We haven’t taken any points against the top sides yet and that’s tough to take, but those teams are at the top for a reason - because they have good players. But that will hopefully change when we bring in a bit more quality and get fitter.’

Grice is hoping Portchester waive a seven day notice of approach for midfielder Tom Dinsmore, allowing him to feature against Hamworthy.

Assistant boss Tom Jeffes might keep the striking role he had against Portchester, while top scorer Joe Johnson could be available after missing Tuesday due to work.

‘I don’t even think Hamworthy have got out of second gear yet this season,’ said Grice. ‘We will do what we can and try and stay resolute.’