Bradbury pleased with second-half show as Hawks hit back

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Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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Goals from JJ Hooper and Scott Donnelly ensured battling Hawks secured a 2-2 draw at Wealdstone on a night when boss Lee Bradbury was sent to the stands.

A sluggish start did cost the men from Westleigh Park top spot in the Vanarama Conference South.

But at least they didn’t lose as they came from behind twice to draw.

Boreham Wood have now gone top but Bradbury, who was sent off along with Wealdstone boss Gordon Bartlett, felt his men did well in the second half.

He said: ‘I was pleased with the way my players reacted to come back twice to earn a point.

‘We gave it a real go, playing with a higher tempo, passed the ball better and were braver on the ball.

‘In the end, we could have won it because it was all us in the final fifteen minutes.’

Bradbury also played down his red card.

He added: ‘It was nothing really. We had words but shook hands and walked off together.

‘I think the referee just wanted to make an example of us and calm things down.’

Struggling Wealdstone grabbed the early initiative, eager to upset the league leaders.

Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Young saved well at his near post after Shaun Lucian played Tom Hickey through.

In response, Josh Huggins forced home keeper Jonathan North into an equally good save with a low shot from the right of the penalty area.

The home side continued to have the better of the exchanges and after 23 minutes took a deserved lead.

Ed Harris was booked for a foul and the resulting free-kick rebounded off the defensive wall to Lucian.

The Wealdstone danger man crossed well from wide on the right and James Hammond beat Young with a header from six yards out.

Encouraged by the goal the hosts put the Hawks under sustained pressure but the visitors managed to weather the storm.

With midfielder Perry Ryan showing his frustration as the team struggled to hit top gear, manager Bradbury replaced him two minutes before the break, sending on Ben Swallow.

Young kept the Hawks in the game at the start of the second period with a full-length save from a 30-yard Luke O’Nien drive.

On 51 minutes a Hawks equaliser arrived out of the blue.

Huggins fired in a low shot and Hooper flicked the ball into the net for his 11th goal of the season.

The game exploded into life on the hour with players from both teams squaring up to each other following a strong Donnelly tackle.

When the dust settled, both managers were sent off.

The incident raised the temperature of the contest and both teams scored in the space of five minutes.

On 63 minutes Scott McGleish put the home side back in front with a point-blank header.

Five minutes later, Donnelly dragged the Hawks level for the second time with a sublime 25-yard free-kick.

North made two good saves to deny Nic Ciardini and Bradley Bubb and Bradbury’s men had to settle for a point.

Wealdstone: North, Mills, Watts, Hammond, Cronin, Godfrey, Lucian, Hickey, McGleish, Brown, O’Nien. Subs: Wright, Turner, Pigden, Hamblin, Showunmi.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Cummings, Ryan, Dutton, Harris, Ciardini, Donnelly, Hooper, Connell, Huggins. Subs: Bubb, Woodford, Swallow, Mullings, Blanchett.