Bradbury confident Hawks are on road to success

Brett Poate. Picture: Neil Marshall

Moneys hope big crowd can inspire flying Southern League start

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HAWKS boss Lee Bradbury praised his players for their efforts to haul themselves clear of the Blue Square Bet South dogfight after they secured a mid-table finish.

An entertaining 1-1 draw at home to Boreham Wood on Saturday saw them finish the season in 10th place.

Last season the Hawks needed a late, late goal to avoid relegation.

They looked to be in danger of the drop again when they started this campaign badly.

But Bradbury turned it around after replacing Stuart Ritchie as boss and believes he has the right group of players to push on next season.

He said: ‘I have been really pleased because the players here are hungry to be successful and want to do things right.’

Bradbury has already made moves to keep his squad in place with trio Jake Newton, Christian Nanetti and Perry Ryan signing new contracts after the game on Saturday.

The manager will hope his plans are not hit by any punishment dished out to the club from the Football Association.

Hawks travel to Wembley tomorrow for the opening day of a two-day misconduct hearing.

After a seven-month investigation, the FA charged the club, previous vice-chairman Jim Fallon and ex-assistant manager Sean New for their part in a proposed transfer deal with player Tom Davis last July.

The two-day hearing will decide the issue and the punishments to be handed out if found guilty.

The worst-case scenario is that Hawks could be hit with a points deduction before the start of next season, though the club believe that is unlikely to happen.

On the pitch, manager Lee Bradbury was given plenty of food for thought as his team headed into their summer break.

A draw was a fair result against Boreham Wood.

For most of the first half, the Hawks were completely outplayed by the visitors.

If it hadn’t been for keeper Clark Masters, Boreham Wood could have been out of sight.

‘Boreham Wood were the better side in the first half and caused us a few problems with the way they were playing,’ said Bradbury.

‘I changed it at half-time and we were better after that.

‘Even when we weren’t at our best, footballing wise, we kept working hard.

‘It was a fair result in the end and a good point.’

Masters, who has made the goalkeeping position his own this season, pulled off a string of outstanding saves to deny the visitors.

Then, on the stroke of half-time and totally against the run of play, the Hawks struck to take the lead.

Eddie Hutchinson combined with Sahr Kabba on the edge of the area.

And the latter ran on to fire a low drive past the goalkeeper.

Bradbury has shown since his arrival in October that he isn’t scared to change plans if things aren’t working out.

At half-time he sent on defender Ryan Woodford and pushed Chris Arthur higher up the pitch.

The Hawks improved but Boreham Wood fully deserved their stunning late equaliser from Rob Hastings.

It needed something special to beat Masters and the 18-year-old substitute provided it, with a perfectly executed hook shot over the goalkeeper, two minutes from time.

HAWKS: Masters 9; Newton 7, Arthur 7 (Noakes 73mins, 6), Hutchinson 6, Harris 7, Strugnell 7, Nanetti 6, Ramsey 6, Palmer 7, Kabba 7 (Jones 84mins), Weekes 5 (Woodford 45mins, 7). Subs not used: Bossman, Monteiro.

n Tonight the Hawks Academy take centre stage when they host Aldershot Town in the final of the Hampshire Youth Floodlit Cup at Westleigh Park (8pm).