Hawks held as Rocks respond in derby draw

Hawks defender Ryan Woodford, centre  Picture: Mick Young
Hawks defender Ryan Woodford, centre Picture: Mick Young
Alfie Rutherford is back from injury to face Maidenstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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The Hawks were forced to settle for a share of the derby-day spoils in a gripping 1-1 draw at rivals Bognor.

Ryan Woodford headed the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time but Ed Sanders levelled just after the hour mark for the Rocks on Boxing Day.

Both teams had chances to win it at Nyewood Lane but a draw was a fair result for the two Ryman League premier division title chasers.

The Hawks should have been in front inside the first minute, after Dan Strugnell burst down the right

The full-back laid the ball back to Alfie Rutherford and his cross was headed wide by the unmarked James Hayter from six yards out.

Bognor responded with captain James Crane forcing a diving save from Ryan Young, with a shot from the edge of the area.

Ollie Pearce then threatened when he skipped to the Hawks byline but his low pull-back was cut out.

Home goalkeeper Dan Lincoln was forced to turn another awkward Rutherford cross over the crossbar for a corner.

On 20 minutes Theo Lewis did well to head down a far-post cross but Sami El-Abd saved the situation for the hosts with a cool header back to his stopper.

On a couple of occasions the Rocks delivered dangerous set-piece balls into the Hawks’ area but the organised visitors survived each time.

And it was the Hawks who made the all-important breakthrough three minutes before the interval.

Lincoln could only flap at a Rory Williams corner and Woodford headed the loose ball into the net.

The visitors began the second half on the front foot and Williams saw his 20-yard drive deflected over the top.

Rutherford picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Rocks area but his shot lacked the power to trouble Lincoln.

The Rocks were level in the 62nd minute when the Rocks made a short-corner count.

The ball was delivered to the back stick where Sanders prodded home off the post.

Suddenly it was the Hawks who were coming under pressure and Andreas Robinson was forced into a vital clearance in front of goal.

The visitors made a double change on 70 minutes, sending on George Barker and Ben Swallow for Robinson and Hayter.

It was a gripping contest as both teams pushed to find a winning goal.

Swallow was bundled over in the area leaving the Hawks fuming when the referee waved play on.

Tension was building and El-Abd had a close-range shot deflected with Wild having his rising drive tipped over by Young at the death to ensure a share of the spoils.

Bognor: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Sanders, Fraser, Davies, Wild, Pearce, Parsons. Subs: Field, Charman, Budd, Dolcetti, Muitt

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Stock, Woodford, Molyneaux, Lewis, Robinson, Prior, Rutherford, Hayter. Subs: Paterson, Barker, Harris, Swallow, Tarbuck.