GOALS were like buses for title favourites Sholing on Saturday in the Sydenhams Premier Division.
They waited ages for the first one to arrive against a well organised Hamworthy United side – and then three more quickly followed.
With a huge FA Vase quarter-final against Wisbech Town awaiting his men on Saturday, manager Dave Diaper was pleased with the final 4-0 outcome after an iffy opening 45 minutes.
He said: “We were off the pace in the first half, our touch was poor.
“We needed to get back to basics and once the first goal came I was confident we’d win quite comfortably.”
It was Ashley Jarvis who made the 66th-minute breakthrough and, come the 77th minute, the Boatmen were four goals to the good with Jarvis sandwiching a second between efforts from Lee Wort and Lewis Fennemore.
“We were a bit rusty in the first half, but give Hamworthy credit for closing us down quite well,” said Diaper. “We expected them to be well organised, Graham Kemp’s teams always are.
“We won 4-0 down at their place too (in September) but they were a different proposition this time round with Kempy in charge and I found out before the game that they were unbeaten since he took over.
“From our point of view it was just nice to get the win and give everyone a run-out.
“We’ve got Horndean at home tonight, which isn’t ideal ahead of the Vase game. I’ll be able to utilise the squad but I’m also very mindful that we want to win. Horndean have strengthened for the run-in with (striker) Mark Smith who was on Pompey’s books and (on-loan midfielder) George Short from Slough Town.”
Sholing’s experienced goalkeeper Lee Webber will stand in for Matt Brown who has had a slight ankle problem for the last six weeks.
Diaper is also likely to rest centre-halves Lee Bright (calf muscles) and Pete Castle (ankle) to keep them in prime condition for the Vase game, where their experience could prove priceless, just as it did against Larkhall in the last round.
Encouragingly for Sholing, defensive/midfield utility man Mike Carter made a comeback off the bench on Saturday having been out with severed thumb tendons – another huge boost for the Vase.
Hamworthy arrived at the Silverlake Arena with just 13 fit and available players, including centre-back Shaun Brian who was still suffering with a chest infection.
It was Brian’s withdrawal, after Sholing had gone ahead, that Kemp felt triggered the Hammers’ collapse.
“Shaun really shouldn’t have played for as long as he did,” he said. “As soon as they scored we took him off and we had to make four positional changes because we didn’t have a suitable replacement on the bench.
“From there we were lambs to the slaughter.
“We were a little bit frustrated at the end because we played really well for 70 minutes and probably edged the first half.”
Hamworthy tonight host Kemp’s old club Christchurch, whose home match against Horndean on Saturday was postponed along with those at Fawley, Moneyfields and Whitchurch.