Lee Bradbury reflected on a ‘big’ win for the Hawks and declared: That was gutsy.
A Christian Nanetti penalty earned the Westleigh Park side all three points in the Blue Square Bet South clash at Eastbourne Borough yesterday.
And boss Bradbury reckons the win – which propelled his side up to 13th spot – was the perfect boost ahead of a trip to rivals Eastleigh on Saturday.
‘It was a real gutsy performance from us and it needed to be in those appalling conditions,’ he said.
‘We stifled them, stopped them from playing and created chances ourselves.
‘We had a game plan, we stuck to it and we deserved the three points.
‘In the second half, we defended well and when we needed to – the lads put their bodies on the line.
‘That’s a big three points for us ahead of the Eastleigh game.’
The visitors began the game with a stiff breeze and slanting rain driving into their faces.
And Eastbourne applied much of the early pressure – with Ben Adelsbury seeing his shot deflected over the bar.
But on 15 minutes, the Hawks had their first sight of goal with Nanetti forcing a low save from Ross Worner.
The Hawks were beginning to settle into the game and they soon began to stretch the home defence with Jake Newton seeing a header saved.
Nanetti then drilled a free-kick wide of the target as Ollie Palmer’s strength and Sahr Kabba’s pace caused Eastbourne problems.
At the other end, the Hawks’ well-organised defence restricted the hosts to long-range efforts in the torrential rain.
Both teams went close to breaking the deadlock five minutes before the interval.
It took a combination of Newton and Clark Masters to turn Chris Shephard’s drive around the post. Then Worner beat away Kabba’s shot.
Two minutes before half-time the Hawks made the breakthrough.
Nanetti was sent tumbling inside the area and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Worner got his hand to Nanetti’s strike but couldn’t prevent it nestling in the bottom corner.
Just six minutes into the second half and the Hawks had a lucky escape.
After Masters spilled a low, swirling cross, three close-range efforts were scrambled off the line before a fourth rebounded off the post to safety.
The Hawks were back on the front foot almost immediately, though, with Kabba’s low shot saved by Worner.
Palmer was then denied by the busy keeper before Shephard lashed a drive across the face of goal for the hosts.
Bradbury sent on Tony Taggart and Eddie Hutchinson towards the end.
And the duo helped the Hawks cling on to all three points.
Shephard had the best of the home side’s late chances but Masters saved.
Perry Ryan could have put the result beyond down with 12 minutes left but his header was once again kept out by Worner.