Dolan times it to perfection

Hawks players and fans celebrate Dolan's goal. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks players and fans celebrate Dolan's goal. Picture: Dave Haines
Horndean manager Michael Birmingham. Picture : Habibur Rahman

Horndean ‘boys became men’ in derby win

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WHAT A time to score your first goal in three years.

Experienced Hawks centre-back Joe Dolan could not have timed his duck breaker any better.

Heading into stoppage-time drawing 2-2 with 10-man Staines, the Hawks were facing relegation from the Blue Square Bet South.

News filtered through that relegation rivals Maidenhead had taken a 4-3 lead against Eastleigh.

The Southern League welcome mats were being dusted off for the Westleigh Park outfit.

With the referee looking at his watch, the home side launched one final desperate attack, with Dolan joining the strikers.

The ball reached forward Ollie Palmer inside the area.

He was crowded out but it fell to Dolan, who poked his shot past the Staines keeper to send Westleigh Park into raptures.

There was hardly time for the restart before the celebrations started in full.

‘I can’t remember the last time I scored and when I do it’s usually an own goal,’ said Dolan.

‘I average about one goal in 30 games which is not great.

‘But this time it’s the quality not quantity that counts.

‘Knowing it was the goal that keeps us up makes it that little bit sweeter.

‘I’ve never experienced anything quite like this.

‘When we got the ball into the box I just wanted Ollie (Palmer) to get out of the way because he had missed a couple.’

Dolan put the Hawks’ late, late salvation down to the attitude of the players.

He added: ‘It was all about maintaining our self belief and keeping going to the end

‘If you do that, then another chance will always come your way and luckily it fell to me.

‘A lot of the lads are still very young and they showed a lot of character in going to the last minute and making it count.

‘It is incredible because we fell behind twice and missed a penalty.

‘When you get slapped in the face time and time again like that you have to keep going back to have another bite.’

Dolan was brought to the club by previous manager Shaun Gale in March, charged with helping the Hawks in their relegation battle.

His experience has been crucial.

‘I’ve had experience of being in a relegation battle before but I’ve not been involved in anything quite like this,’ said Dolan.

‘I know how frustrating it can be when you try so hard and not get results.

‘For young lads it is a very tough journey and us more experienced players are delighted that we have been able to help them.’