Hammers arrived at the Silverlake Arena with just 13 fit and available players, including defender Shaun Brian who was suffering the effects of a chest infection.
Despite a battling display against their high-flying hosts, United were swept aside by a ferocious four-timer inside 10 second-half minutes as Ashley Jarvis (2), Lee Wort and Lewis Fennemore netted in a 4-0 success for the Boatmen.
It was the first reverse of Kemp’s County Ground tenure and while he praised the players who were present, Hamworthy’s manager had a word of warning for those missing through work commitments.
He told the Daily Echo: “If you want to make an impression at this standard you have to make sacrifices and we will have to rectify that. I was always brought up to make myself available every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“I am keen to progress, the club is keen to progress and you have to be at full strength every week if you want to challenge the best.
“On Thursday night, everyone was buzzing. We had a full squad and everyone fancied themselves to have a right go after going nine matches unbeaten. Then, I had a whole load of lads ring or text to say they couldn’t make it.
“We’re not using it as an excuse because the starting XI performed magnificently and it could have gone either way.
“Shaun Brian really shouldn’t have played for as long as he did and as soon as they scored we took him off. 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 and the most frustrating thing was I couldn’t do my job and change anything. I looked round at my bench and I had a goalkeeper left. There was nothing more we could do.
“We had mixed emotions at the end. We were a little bit frustrated because we played really well for 70 minutes and probably edged the first half.”
Meanwhile, Kemp revealed he has made a seven-day approach for Blackfield & Langley defender Dan Taylor.
Hammers: Thomas, Penny, Hester, Haysom, Brian (Sturgess, 70), Corby, Cole, Hubbard, Osborne, Cook, Martin. Unused subs: Ackerman.
- Elsewhere in the Wessex Premier, Poppies were pegged back by a last-minute leveller in a 1-1 draw at Romsey Town.
Recent signing Sam Pekun scored his second goal in as many starts for Ken Vaughan’s side.
Poppies: Vaughan, Martinez, Jackson, Costello (Ingram, h-t), Burgis, Owens (Phillips, 60), Rowley, Ward, Warren (Bassiriki, 90), Pekun, Saadi.
- Christchurch’s home match with Horndean was postponed while in Wessex One, New Milton Town lost 2-0 at Andover Town and Ringwood Town suffered a 2-1 reverse at Tadley Calleva.