Gale: Hawks need to turn corner sharply

Scott Jones scored late. Picture: Dave Haines
Scott Jones scored late. Picture: Dave Haines
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

Frustration for Fareham... Royals cruise through

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HAWKS manager Shaun Gale is desperate for a quick upturn in fortunes after his team slipped closer to relegation peril.

A 3-1 Blue Square Bet South defeat at promotion chasers Chelmsford City, with only a consolation goal late on from Scott Jones, left Gale demanding an improvement at Welling tomorrow.

Gale said: ‘The biggest thing is we need to pick up points and must turn that corner quickly, starting at Welling on Tuesday night.

‘We will remain positive, something will turn for us and we will go on from there.

‘At times, we are not doing enough to win games.’

Defeat at Chelmsford left the Hawks 17th in the league, just six points above the relegation-zone.

With five of their next six games against top-10 sides, four of which are away from home, Gale and his team face a test of nerve in the coming weeks.

Things did not go their way on Saturday.

After opting to play against the elements, a gale-force wind and driving rain, in the first half, they found themselves doing exactly the same in the second period, as the weather turned.

That didn’t make life easy but the main difference between the two sides was in the finishing.

When Scott Jones drilled home his goal for the Hawks, three minutes into stoppage time, Chelmsford were out of sight.

The crucial moment in the game arrived midway through the second half.

With the Hawks trailing 1-0, Sammy Igoe saw his close-range effort kept out by a point-blank save.

‘If we had taken our chance and levelled the scores we had a fantastic opportunity to get something,’ said Gale.

‘We were in the ascendancy and it would have been it a different game.

‘The first half was very difficult in the swirling strong wind and we didn’t play particularly well.

‘We defended well enough, apart from their goal when we got the first header but not the second one.

‘In the second half, we had a go but unfortunately we seem to get punished for our mistakes.

‘We had good opportunities but when you are not taking your chances it makes life tough.’

In the opening 45 minutes the Hawks played Jones in a lone forward role.

Others were tasked with supporting from midfield, when they counter-attacked.

The conditions made that difficult, resulting in the hard-working Jones finding himself isolated and outnumbered.

The Clarets broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when the Hawks failed to defend a corner.

Goalkeeper Lyall Beazley managed to punch the ball away but, as it dropped, Jordan Miller slid in to send a half-volley through a sea of legs into the goal.

The Hawks improved after the break.

The marauding Chris Arthur delivered a number of incisive balls into the danger area but the visitors failed to capitalise.

On 55 minutes, Igoe looked certain to score from one such cross.

But from two yards he hit the ball too close to Stuart Searle in the home goal, who managed a good one-handed block.

The game was up for the Hawks 11 minutes later when substitute Ricky Modeste fired in from just inside the area.

With the Hawks left chasing the game, fellow home substitute Cliff Akurang headed in a third in the final minute, before Jones grabbed his consolation.

Hawks: Beazley 7; Newton 7, McDonald 7 (Braham-Barrett 79mins), Hinshelwood 6, Woodford 6, Pearce 6, Igoe 6, Ramsey 7, Jones 7, Ryan 6 (Palmer 55mins – 6), Arthur 8.

Att: 859.