Bradbury: Experience key to fine Hawks win

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Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

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Lee Bradbury felt the Hawks delivered a disciplined performance as they beat Basingstoke Town 2-0 at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

Goals from Bradley Bubb and Scott Donnelly slayed the Dragons and moved the Hawks up to fourth in the Vanarama Conference South.

It was no more than Bradbury’s men deserved, as they chalked up a third successive win and clean sheet.

Bradbury was delighted with the way his team dealt with the Dragons’ threat to win the game.

He said: ‘I felt we showed a great discipline against a team that has been flying in the early weeks.

‘The way we managed the game and picked them off was very pleasing.

‘It was the experience in our team that allowed us to do that.

‘We looked solid and well-organised throughout and at the same time played some good football.

‘Basingstoke are a tough team to play against but we had a game plan and the players stuck to it.

‘I set them the challenge of getting Basingstoke to change their shape and they did just that.

‘It is the second time in a week the opposition manager has said we were the better team.’

Though both teams attacked in the opening stages, neither defence looked in the mood to give anything away.

Nic Ciardini was lively on the left for the Hawks.

And it was no surprise when he set up the 26th-minute opener for the Hawks.

Ciardini was found in space on the left and he delivered a fine cross for Bubb to rise and perfectly direct his header into the top corner of the net.

The second half proved a close-fought affair.

But the Hawks’ back four remained solid.

The home side had one let-off when Basingstoke substitute Jamie Brown – the former Gosport Borough player – crashed a 25-yard drive against the post with Hawks keeper Ryan Young well beaten.

Six minutes from time, the home side bagged the second goal.

Donnelly burst forward from midfield and fired an unstoppable low long-range drive into the bottom corner of the net.

‘The arrival of Brian Stock has given Scott greater freedom to get on the ball higher up the pitch,’ said Bradbury.

‘He is now our joint-top scorer with five goals and it was a cracking strike.

‘Having Brian sitting in front of the back four has also helped us defensively.

‘We are now getting back to being hard to break down and that is a third-successive clean sheet.’

The arrival of Stock and Alan Connell has been so important for the Hawks.

Their experience has given the whole squad a lift and they have embarked on a good winning run.

Full-back Warren Cummings is one of the players who has benefitted from their arrival.

Cummings has forced his way into the starting line-up and now has two players in the side who he knows well from his time at AFC Bournemouth.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Cummings, Stock, Dutton, Harris, Ciardini (Swallow 62), Donnelly, Bubb (Mullings 80), Connell (Hooper 71), Huggins. Unused subs: Woodford, Blanchett.