Gale left counting cost of Hawks’ Trophy exit

The Hawks' Scott Jones goes for goal with a header Picture: Dave Haines
The Hawks' Scott Jones goes for goal with a header Picture: Dave Haines
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Hawks boss Shaun Gale was left counting the cost of another early cup exit after watching his side crash out of the FA Trophy last night to Weymouth 2-0.

The Southern League premier division side were rewarded with a replay at Westleigh Park after holding the Hawks to a goalless draw at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Saturday.

But with a potential home draw against Blue Square Bet South rivals Eastleigh awaiting the winners, the Hawks were unable to rise to the occasion, going out at the third qualifying round stage following two second-half strikes from the visitors.

With the defeat coming just a month after their FA Cup exit at the same stage against Weston-super-Mare, the Hawks have missed a golden opportunity to cash in on their cup credentials.

And that’s a fact not lost on Gale, who felt let down by his side’s showing on home soil.

‘To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement,’ said Gale.

‘You put your trust in players and we had opportunities to have had the game won from early on.

‘We started well, but if you don’t stick the ball in the net, you can’t expect to win.

‘In the second half, twice we had chances to clear our lines but didn’t – and we paid the ultimate price.

‘This season we have exited both cup competitions early on and financially that’s not helpful to the club.’

The Hawks made three changes to the side held at Weymouth on Saturday, with Jake Newton, Ryan Woodford and Scott Jones replacing Craig Braham-Barrett, Sam Pearce and Lee Peacock.

And the reshuffled line-up made a lively start, putting Weymouth under some early pressure.

The home side forced a serious of corners and, from one, Chris Holland sent a header bouncing through to Tom Manley in the visitors’ goal.

Ollie Palmer looked certain to score when he received the ball unmarked six yards out, but his shot was deflected for another corner.

With Palmer and Scott Jones up front, the Hawks looked full of running, and it took a lunging tackle from a visiting defender to stop the former bursting through on goal.

On nine minutes, though, Weymouth showed their threat when they should have taken the lead.

Sam Malsom got in behind Jon McDonald and crossed for Warren Byerley, who headed over from six yards out.

The visitors then saw their strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Byerley went down under Newton’s challenge inside the box.

Hawks keeper Lyall Beazley had to come to his side’s rescue after Craig Duff made a bursting run from half way.

Duff then threaded the ball through to Byerley but Beazley was quickly off his line to block.

The visitors were getting more into the game as the half wore on and Malsom’s rising 30-yard drive was easily held by Beazley as Weymouth ended the half on top.

There was still little to chose between the two sides at the start of the second half – until the visitors broke the deadlock on 54 minutes.

Ryan’s poor clearance from a quick free-kick was threaded back through to Matt Groves, who guided his low shot past Beazley from eight yards.

And it went from bad to worse for the Hawks on the hour mark, when Weymouth added a second goal.

Once again, the Hawks failed to take their chance to clear and Byerley skipped through to the byline before squeezing in his shot home from a tight angle.

Defeat was now staring the Hawks in the face, and only Beazley’s late stop from Malsom denied Weymouth the chance of embarrassing their hosts further.

Hawks: Beazley, Newton, McDonald, Ryan, Holland, Woodford, Hinselwood, Ramsey, Jones, Igoe, Palmer. Subs: Peacock, Whyte, Geteski, Hopkinson, Naughton.

Weymouth: Manley, Tribe, Dickson, Napper, Gerring, Poole, Duff, Malsom, Groves, Byerley, Tasker. Subs: Reed, Marshallsay, McKechnie, Beasley, Mutch.