A RELIEVED Shaun Gale has called on his players to repeat their Maidenhead heroics for their daunting trip to promotion-chasing Welling United tonight (7.45pm).
The 10-man Hawks produced a fighting display to come from behind and beat Maidenhead 2-1 in Blue Square Bet South – saving the under-pressure Gale from another embarrassing home defeat.
Gale’s prospects looked bleak after midfielder Bobby Hopkinson saw red for a reckless challenge just before half-time.
The Hawks fell behind as a result of their disadvantage but, unlike the previous weekend against Dartford, the home side refused to cave in and turned the game around in remarkable fashion.
Two late goals from Ryan Woodford and Scott Jones earned them a much-needed win.
But Gale knows his side will need to be even more resilient against a Welling outfit looking to complete a league double over them.
‘We need more of the same, only with 11 men,’ said Gale.
‘It is important that we continue to work and build on the Maidenhead result.
‘I won’t single any players out because they all worked their socks off to get the result against the odds.
‘The team have come under criticism at times this season for a lack of character but I think they answered that.
‘I picked a team that I thought would run through a brick wall for the club and they produced the goods. It wasn’t a day, I felt, for the flair players.’
Perry Ryan, Paul Hinshelwood and Steve Ramsey fought for everything in midfield on Saturday, Chris Arthur showed great pace on the flanks, and striker Jones never stopped working.
It is likely Gale will use the same formula at Welling tonight, although he does have other options available.
Top-scorer Ollie Palmer is back from his fortnight’s holiday in the Caribbean but new-signing Dan Thompson, who did well on his Hawks debut when he came on as a second-half substitute on Saturday, could be ahead of him in the pecking order.
Sammy Igoe remains an injury doubt, while there is a big question mark over central-defender Sam Pearce who broke his nose and suffered breathing problems in the victory over Maidenhead.
Woodford staked his claim for a return to the starting line-up with a typically-energetic performance when introduced as a substitute and could easily slot in for Pearce
However, whatever line-up Gale decides upon, he knows it will be a tough test for his side at Park View Road.
‘We will have to dig in and defend and be on our mettle,’ said Gale.
‘I believe, though, at our best we are a match for anyone in our league.
‘We came away from Tonbridge in our last away game with a win and we will be looking for another three points.
‘I still think there is a lot more to come from this team.’
Hawks: Beazley, Newton, Holland, Woodford, McDonald, Hinshelwood, Ryan, Ramsey, Arthur, Jones, Hopkinson, Cashman, Pearce, Thompson, Igoe, Braham-Barrett,