TWO moments of Zach Glasspool magic proved decisive as Sydenhams Premier leaders Alresford Town reeled off their 12th league victory on the spin on Saturday.
The Magpies were missing ball-winning midfielder Stuart Green and central defender Lee Wood, but Luke Dempsey coped well moving across from right-back, while Jamie Bentley made a good impression stepping up from the reserves.
It wasn’t the most appealing of spectacles, played in a strong wind on a bumpy pitch, but once again Alresford proved ruthless in front of goal.
Mike McEnery had already struck the upright when, on 13 minutes, the Magpies seized the lead with what co-boss Danny Robinson labelled an “outrageous” finish.
Aided by a defensive error, Glasspool took possession on the edge of the box, cut in on his left foot and exquisitely bent the ball into the top corner.
The Hammers had chances to equalise with Stefan Penny and Dan Haysom firing over. But, generally speaking, they had little joy against a Magpies defence in which skipper Stuart Mott gave another sterling performance, while goalkeeper Jason Collins was keen to prove a point against his old Christchurch boss Graham Kemp.
Collins’ opposite number Dan Ackerman was the busier of the two keepers, doing well to deny Dominic Cope and 46-goal predator Warren Bentley.
But Glasspool managed to beat him again on 58 minutes, following good work by Joe Wright and McEnery, taking his own season’s tally to 22.
Hamworthy played plenty of football in the Alresford half in the latter stages but never looked like breaching the table-topping Magpies who have scored 44 goals and conceded just seven in the league since the turn of the year.
Tonight they host relegation-battling Fawley AFC who did them a huge favour on Saturday by holding title favourites Sholing 2-2 at Long Lane.
It gives the Magpies a three-point advantage over the Boatmen, who have five games in hand.
“You can never be unhappy being top of the table, but we’re not going to get too excited,” said Robinson.
“If Sholing start dropping points in four or five other games, we might start looking at it, but you’ve got to say they’re favourites.
“But winning 12 on the bounce is record for us and what’s pleasing is that we’ve had all manner of victories.
“We came back from 2-0 down at Lymington and won 3-2 with ten men and we’ve ground out a 2-1 win at Bournemouth when we didn’t play well.
“As well being great going forward, we’re looking strong defensively too. There’s more maturity about the side this year.”
Green, Wood and Suhael Odeh will all be back after unavailability tonight with Robinson expecting a decent spectacle against second-to-bottom Fawley, who have gone four games unbeaten.
“The scoreline flattered us when we won 7-0 down there at the start of the season,” he said.
“Steve Hall came to us from Fawley and he’s a good, good player.”