Bradbury delighted as Hawks give Fleet a fright

Jaosn Prior. Picture: Keith Woodland

Late heartbreak for Hawks

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Lee Bradbury expressed his pride after the Hawks kept highly-fancied Ebbsfleet United at bay on Saturday.

A trip to Stonebridge Road on the opening day of the Conference South season always looked a daunting proposition.

But the Hawks stood up to the challenge and recorded an impressive point with a 0-0 draw.

It could have been even better, too, as only a terrific second-half save by Ebbsfleet keeper Preston Edwards denied Christian Nanetti a winner.

By contrast, Hawks keeper Scott Bevan did not have a save to make.

The performance left Bradbury delighted – as his side continued the resilient form they showed away from home last season.

‘It was a good point against a team who are going to do well this season,’ said the boss.

‘Ebbsfleet will score plenty of goals and we did well to keep them at bay.

‘We were very resolute and overall had the better chances in a game where one goal was only ever going to be enough to win it.

‘Ebbsfleet looked good going forward, so we are pleased to come away with a clean sheet.

‘We dealt with them really well and worked hard to keep them out.’

The Hawks weathered an early onslaught as the home side looked to put them under pressur.

Bradbury’s side, however, were typically combative in midfield allowing the Ebbsfleet players little time to settle on the ball.

The pace of Nanetti caused the hosts problems and handed Sahr Kabba a chance which he volleyed over.

In the second half, Ebbsfleet were reduced to shooting from distance as the Hawks continued to carve out the better opportunities.

And again it was danger-man Nanetti who went closest.

The winger worked his way across the face of the Ebbsfleet area before curling in a shot Edwards kept out of the bottom corner at full-stretch.

Kabba also went close, nipping between defender and keeper only to see his weak effort cleared off the line.

‘It was a good team performance,’ said Bradbury.

‘We win and lose as a team and regard our two strikers as the front line of our defence.

‘All our goalkeeper had to do all game was come and collect a couple of crosses. It is a good result for us and gives us something to build on in the next few games.’

The Hawks will have to wait to kick on from their point, though, after tonight’s game with Farnborough was postponed.

Despite exiting administration last week, Boro failed to fulfil their Conference South requirements before the season start on Saturday.

A decision is expected today on whether Farnborough will be allowed to take their place in this season’s competition.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have been left kicking their heels.

‘It is frustrating but I can understand why the league have done it,’ said Bradbury.

‘A couple of players picked up dead legs at the weekend and might not have made it, so it is not all bad news.’

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Strugnell, Harris, Blanchett, Ramsey (Ciardini 70), Hutchinson, Kewley-Graham, Nanetti, Kabba, Oli (Jones 79). Subs: Woodford, Monteiro, Przespolewsi. Referee: S Daly. Att: 973