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Dorset Premier League: Browne impressed as Martin stakes first-team claim
FIRST-team boss Simon Browne predicted a bright future for Alex Martin after watching the teenager bag a goal and an assist for Hamworthy United reserves.
The 16-year-old Poole-based forward, who recently spent nine months with Aston Villa, was the star performer as Hammers’ second string eased to a 3-1 victory over Holt United on Friday.
Martin, who had brief spells at Southampton and Poole Town following his Villa departure, had already worried the Bulls backline before strike partner Dan Manuel played in the pocket rocket to deftly finish past visiting keeper Tom Rees in the ninth minute.
Hamworthy’s front two continued to look sharp but Holt gradually worked their way back into the game and deserved their leveller on 33 minutes when Chia Khider collected a half-cleared ball, broke down the right and drilled in a low centre for Ross Dominey to bundle home from close range.
But Hamworthy made their dominance count two minutes after the interval as Martin turned provider, threading through Manuel to outpace non-league veteran Jason Lovell and coolly slot past Rees.
Holt kept plugging away and almost snared a second equaliser with 20 minutes to play when Paul Lane’s pinged ball from deep was beautifully collected by Kevin Collins on the turn, but his shot cannoned off the inside of the post before being hacked away.
And the Bulls, who have faced a summer of rebuilding under former Poole Borough boss Mike Rees, were promptly punished for that miss as Scott Logan’s quick free-kick evaded substitute Shane Downs, allowing Manuel to race in and finish across goal after 77 minutes.
But the full-time plaudits were saved for Martin who impressed Browne with his lively showing under the Friday night floodlights.
Browne told the Daily Echo: “Alex looked a real prospect and I was excited by his performance.
“He took a couple of kicks but won plenty of his battles for a lad of his size and his speed really made a difference.
“Expectations do have to be managed with lads of that age and there is no way he will be making 40-odd appearances in the Wessex or Dorset Premier League just yet. He was included in our Wessex League Cup squad recently and his progress will be carefully monitored.”
Hammers Res: Rockingham, Hollingsworth, Jackson, Turner, Molyneaux, Hampton-Brown, Logan, Basing (Glavin, 89), Manuel, Martin (Miles, 77), Geddes (Jones, 67).
Bulls: Rees, Watt, Sullivan, Collins, Roberts (Downs, 56), Lovell, Orchard, Lane, Dominey (Miron, 86), Khider, Jackson (Edwardson, 18). Unused subs: Sullivan, Gagan.
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