HAMBLEDEN gained revenge for their league defeat against FC Titans earlier in the season by despatching them from the first round of the Tom Hooker Cup on Saturday.
Taking time to settle it was Titans who looked the more lively in the opening exchanges. James Rodrigues was forced to clear rashly and Oz Dawson was put under pressure by Matthew Mullins playing down the Titans’ right side.
Ross Hathaway was called upon in the Hambleden goal to turn a strike away and had to be safe with his handling from a succession of early Titans corner kicks. Ben Chivers was active in the Hambleden midfield and was lucky not to find himself in the book after a string of clumsy challenges. Dean Kemp down the Hambleden right pressed high up the pitch and found Dawson who flighted a delivery into the Titans box, Markwell, steaming in was unlucky as Titans central defender Beau Brown glanced away the cross as the opening goal beckoned.
Markwell’s clever running allowed Macllenan to play freely but it was Chivers on 25 minutes who ultimately made the difference collecting a poor clearance from Titans keeper Mark Celia. The midfielder forced the ball forward to Macllenan, Markwell dragged the defenders away which gave Macllenan time and space to dispatch his shot from the edge of the area past the outstretched Celia.
Titans retaliated and Brian had to be alert to halting a Titans passing move but Hambleden extended their lead six minutes later. Dean Kemp headed down a Chivers cross from the right hand side of the box into the path of Macllenan who sidestepped a double challenge before again dispatching his bouncing strike past the hapless Celia.
Macllenan was unlucky not to claim a first half hat-trick after a neat move involving Matt Cook, Brunning, Chivers and Marcus Cook saw a cross find Markwell on the edge of the area. The striker climbed well to nod the ball back to Macllenan who from 25 yards out could not replicate his previous strikes.
Markwell limped off and Ryan Kemp was thrust into action as the second half began. Kemp immediately threatened after a neat Macllenan combination but it was Titans on 52 minutes who forced their way back into the game. With Matthew Mullins switched to a more central position the Titans midfielder found brother Charlie Mullins on the corner of the box who netted at the far post.
Five minutes later Ryan Kemp secured his first goal back after his lengthy eight-week lay-off. Chivers won the ball in midfield and played in Dean Kemp who out-foxed his marker with some trickery before returning the ball to Chivers higher up the field.
Chivers’ reverse pass found Macllenan who slotted the ball through the Titans defence to find Ryan Kemp who turned his marker before firing home from six yards. With the game seemingly won Hambleden took their foot off the pedal allowing Titans to play from deep.
Hambleden’s Chivers and Matt Cook found their way into the referee’s book and with 15 minutes to play Hambleden were undone as Mullins rushed towards the Hambleden back line. Chris Brunning lost possession, allowing Beau Brown to bear down unmarked on the Hambleden goal. Ross Hathaway rushed out from between the sticks saved well at the feet of Brown, but was unfortunate to see the rebound fall kindly to Charlie Mullins who guided the ball home.