Bradbury has Hawks problems hammered home

Hawks manager Lee Bradbury. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170062-1)
Hawks manager Lee Bradbury. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170062-1)
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Good show on the road as Hawks impress to beat Wealdstone

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The home misery continued for Lee Bradbury as his Hawks slumped to a 2-1 Ryman League premier division defeat at the hands of Billericay Town on Saturday.

Despite a late rally, the hosts were well beaten for the second successive game at Westleigh Park – casting huge doubts on their title credentials.

Of the six games Bradbury’s team has lost this season, four have been in front of their own fans.

They have also failed to win half of their home fixtures.

Once again the home side proved their own worst enemy – gifting the Essex outfit the all-important first goal on the stroke of half-time.

A weak back-pass by Lee Molyneaux proved disastrous – allowing Billericay to grab the initiative.

After that the Hawks were far from convincing as they chased the game against the physical visitors.

Bradbury accepts the home form is badly holding his team back.

‘Our home form is nowhere near good enough and we have to change that,’ said the boss.

‘We have got to do better and need to bring more of our away mentality to the home games.

‘Thankfully our away record is the best in the league and the key to success is putting the two together.

‘Once again, though, we have ended up shooting ourselves in the foot.

‘We made a bad decision on the ball and ended up getting punished for it.

‘After that the experience in the Billericay ranks made it difficult for us to break them down.’

The Hawks faced a totally different Billericay line-up to the one they had already beaten in the league and FA Trophy this season.

A new owner and fresh investment has seen the side rebuilt with players from a higher level.

In the first half, there was little to choose between the sides – until Billericay were gifted the opening goal.

Chris Assambalonga nipped on to Molyneaux’s under-hit back-pass and rounded Ryan Young before rolling the ball into the net from a tight angle.

With the Hawks running out of ideas midway through the second half, Bradbury switched to 4-4-2.

But the visitors used the extra space to deliver the fatal blow on 72 minutes.

A quick counter-attack ended with Lewis Taafe firing past the advancing Young.

Bradbury said: ‘It was a catch 22. We had to try to get back into it – because it doesn’t matter if you lose 1-0 or by more in the end.’

The Hawks did, however, produce a grandstand finish with Jason Prior netting five minutes before the final whistle.

Deep into stoppage-time Ed Harris almost snatched an unlikely point as he crashed a shot against the bar.

But that would have been a grave injustice to Billericay.

With seven home games left, Bradbury needs to find an answer.