By Mat Killeen
Havant & Waterlooville 5 Highworth Town 1
Matt Patterson’s hat-trick ensured Havant and Waterlooville progressed to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup as they defeated Highworth Town 5-1 at Westleigh Park.
The 26-year old striker more than doubled his season’s tally having already scored two goals in the league this term.
The Hawks did not have to wait long to break the deadlock. A route one pass from goalkeeper, Ryan Young, allowed Patterson to beat two defenders before chipping the ball over Highworth keeper Matt Schofield after just three minutes.
Nine minutes later the home side doubled their advantage. A free kick was played wide to Ben Swallow, who put a good cross into the visitor’s area. Ryan Woodford rose high to guide his header beyond the visitor’s keeper.
The second goal saw both teams settle into very different styles of play as Highworth sat back and applied very little pressure on Havant and Waterlooville when the Hawks had the ball inside their own half.
Despite this, Highworth were still able to make the occasional foray forward and did force Young into a couple of saves in the run-up to half time; Aysa Corrick with the best of the chances for the away side at the heart of the pressure on the Ryman League side’s goal.
Schofield needed to be switched on for Highworth at the beginning of the second half as first Patterson and then Williams had efforts on goal. Both denied by the Town keeper to keep the gap at two.
On the hour mark, James Hayter was fouled in the box meaning the Hawks had a penalty and a chance to make the score 3-0. The home side’s number 10 dusted himself down to convert the spot kick and surely put the game beyond doubt.
Ten minutes later, Ashley Edenborough gave the visitor’s a life-line after a penalty was awarded following a trip by Theo Lewis. The Reds’ number 15 kept his cool from the spot to cut the home side’s lead back to two. The foul by the Hawks’ midfielder resulted in a yellow card.
However, with time running out on Highworth’s chances of getting back into the game, Lewis atoned for his error as he set up Matt Patterson to score his second of the afternoon with two minutes of the 90 to go.
As the clock ticked over to 90 minutes, the hat-trick was complete. A tackle by left-back, Rory Williams, saw the ball spin through the air and land at the feet of Patterson who made no mistake, drilling the ball beyond the reach of Schofield and completing the route by making the score 5-1.
After the game, Hawks manager, Lee Bradbury, praised the hat-trick hero saying: “Matt deserves it. He has worked so hard during pre-season to get fit and sharp and to get confident in front of goal. He believes when he gets a chance he is going to score and it’s a really good position for us to be in.”
Havant and Waterlooville will face higher ranked opposition in the third qualifying round after the draw was made on Monday (19th September) as they travel away from home to play Ebbsfleet United. That game will take place on Saturday, 1st October.