Gale: Critics don’t concern us

Hawks goalscorer Sam Pearce. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks goalscorer Sam Pearce. Picture: Dave Haines
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SHAUN GALE saw his Hawks lose 3-1 at title-chasing Dartford but roared: We will silence our critics.

Steve Ramsey’s penalty miss was pivotal as the visitors fell to defeat in the Blue Square Bet South clash.

Sam Pearce had shot the Westleigh Park outfit ahead but the chance to make it two was spurned.

And Dartford went on to ease to victory.

Gale, though, is adamant his men will hit back and hit back quickly to silence their critics.

‘We have got nine games and people keep writing us off,’ said Gale.

‘We are not worried about that because this wasn’t a performance of a team with no fire in their bellies.

‘Now we have to go and win at Bromley on Tuesday night – it is as simple as that.

‘We have to regroup ready to go again.’

Ramsey ballooned his 16th-minute spot-kick over the bar and with it the chance to race into a two-goal lead.

Earlier Pearce had fired the Hawks ahead in the eighth minute.

But the Darts went on to make the most of their escape and equalise before the break.

In the second half, the Hawks found themselves increasingly fighting a rearguard action.

And the pressure finally told with Dartford scoring twice in the final nine minutes to condemn the Hawks to another defeat.

Gale added: ‘It’s a tough place to go but key moments change games.

‘If we had gone 2-0 up then it is a totally different story and I don’t think we would have lost.

‘Players miss penalties and I can’t blame Steve Ramsey because he has been fantastic for us.

‘We caused them a lot of problems in the first half and their manager agreed we gave them a heck of a game.

‘The result flattered them and I couldn’t have asked any more from my players. They gave their all against a very good side.’

The Hawks, who had goalkeeper Daniel Thomas and winger Christian Nanetti making debuts, started on the front foot.

They were rewarded when Pearce scored with a first-time effort from Joe Dolan’s low cross.

Pearce’s early goal was a just reward for their positive approach.

Scott Jones was causing the home defence all sorts of problems and a trip on him as he burst into the area brought the penalty.

But in a game-changing moment, Ramsey failed to hit the target.

Encouraged by the let off, Dartford hit back to level midway through the half courtesy of Lee Noble.

The Hawks defended magnificently throughout the second period but finally ran out of steam in the closing stages.

Danny Harris scored from close range on 81 minutes and Luke Wilkinson hammered the final nail in the Hawks’ coffin – with a header from a corner – three minutes from time.

‘In the second half we allowed them to dictate to us a little bit and they pushed us back too much,’ said Gale.

‘We were undone by a little bit of quality in the end as their pressure finally told.’

The defeat leaves the Hawks still perilously placed just one point above the drop zone and facing a relegation six-pointer at fellow strugglers Bromley tomorrow night.

Hawks: Thomas 7; Newton 7, Dolan 7, Pearce 7, Arthur 7, Hutchinson 7, Ryan 6, Ramsey 6, Nanetti 6, Jones 7, Palmer 6 (Thompson 66mins, 6)