‘We were second best – I’ve no grumbles’ – Horndean boss Michael Birmingham as Wessex League leaders suffer shock loss at Hamble
Horndean remain top of the Wessex League despite seeing their 10-game unbeaten Premier Division run ended at mid-table Hamble.
A first half goal from Harvey Ingledew-Coak gave the Monks revenge for 7-0 and 9-0 defeats against Michael Birmingham’s table-toppers.
It also meant a winning debut for striker Kelvin Robinson, making his Wessex League debut after leaving Hampshire Premier Leaguers Fleetlands following 18 goals in 13 appearances in 2021/22.
The Deans now lead the table on goal difference as Brockenhurst were unable to take full advantage against rock bottom Hythe & Dibden. In one of the season’s most surprising results, Hythe - after losing their opening 18 league games - held the Badgers to a 1-1 draw.
‘We could still be out there now,’ Birmingham said this morning. ‘Their keeper could have gone home for a 24-hour nap, gone out for a haircut, gone out for some meals, and we still wouldn’t have hit the target.
‘I’ve no qualms, no grumbles - the best team won on the day.’
Hamble had the previous weekend only lost 1-0 to Brockenhurst due to an injury-time penalty from ex-AFC Portchester midfielder Joe Chamberlain.
‘In their last two games Hamble have played supposedly the best two teams in the league,’ said Birmingham. ‘They took Brock all the way and they totally deserved their three points against us.
‘I made a point of shaking the hand of all their players and telling them they were magnificent. The three points meant more to them than it did my players.
‘It shows what can happen if you don’t work extremely hard, if you’re not right mentally. We were second best all over the park.’
Hamble’s winner came on the counter. ‘We weren’t set up right and they hit us on the break, it was a very disappointing goal to concede,’ rued Birmingham.
The Deans had only made one change from the side that beat Blackfield 4-1 in midweek to jump into top spot - captain Ash Howes returning in place of Chad Field.
Elsewhere, third-placed Hamworthy United were also unable to take full advantage of Horndean’s second loss of the league season. They were held 0-0 by Bashley but remain unbeaten in 14 Wessex Premier games and are now four points adrift of the Deans with two games in hand.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Wessex League Cup trip to Moneyfields, the Hammers have not lost in 13 league and cup matches.