Gale rocked by Dartford defeat

113048_HAWKS_27/08/11''Goal scorer Scott Jones, celebrates. ''Havant and Waterlooville V Truro City at Westleigh Park in Blue Square Bet South. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113048-275)
113048_HAWKS_27/08/11''Goal scorer Scott Jones, celebrates. ''Havant and Waterlooville V Truro City at Westleigh Park in Blue Square Bet South. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113048-275)
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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Shaun Gale was left shocked as the Hawks slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to promotion-chasing Dartford at Westleigh Park.

The loss left Gale’s men just four points above the Blue Square Bet South drop zone.

The manager insists the panic button won’t be pushed but admits his team need to start winning games.

His Hawks were outfought and outplayed for much of the game and the defeat could have been heavier, as the Kent visitors also had two efforts cleared off the line.

During the first half in particular, far too many Hawks players were off the pace.

And with leading goalscorer Ollie Palmer on holiday in the Caribbean, they lacked a threat up front.

‘To be quite honest I never saw this coming,’ said Gale.

‘That is a performance of about two months ago when we didn’t know what we were going to get and it has knocked me a bit.

‘Dartford won because they outfought us and that isn’t good enough.

‘The second goal killed us. You rely on people to do a job and though I felt their player was two yards offside, you still have to defend better.

‘With things going against us we were guilty of going back into our shell again.

‘We improved at the start of the second half and once we got our goal I thought we would kick on from there.

‘But once again we shot ourselves in the foot with some poor defending which led to their third goal.

‘Then some of my players disappeared and that is a big disappointment for me.

‘Too many players were off the pace for too long and it is an awful start to the new year for us.’

The visitors looked an accomplished side from the start and broke the deadlock midway through the first half.

Elliott Bradbrook cruised through the left channel and comfortably placed his shot past Lyall Beazley in the Hawks goal.

Eight minutes later, the impressive Danny Harris showed superb control to bring down a high ball before lobbing over the keeper into the net.

The Hawks had the best of the opening 20 minutes of the second period.

And striker Scott Jones bundled home a Craig Braham-Barrett cross to restore hope for the home side.

But any belief was dashed, 16 minutes from time, when Harris tucked the ball home at the far post after a corner was headed back into the danger area.

The Hawks’ misery was complete in the final minute.

James Roger’s free-kick, from wide on the left, bounced through the area into the far corner of the net.

‘Take nothing away from Dartford because they are a good side but we allowed them to play,’ said Gale.

‘When we were in their faces and stopping them from playing we made them look average but we didn’t do that enough.

‘They won more battles than we did all over the park.

‘In the first half, they were first to everything which made it difficult for us.

‘The first 15 minutes of the second half we were in the ascendancy and took control but, unfortunately, we gave them a soft goal that virtually killed the game off.

‘Overall in the game we haven’t done well enough. It is as simple as that.

‘I am not going to start looking over my shoulder at results because the destiny of our season is in our hands.

‘We all have to remain positive and start winning football matches.

‘We didn’t play as a unit and didn’t defend well enough as a team.

‘Top sides will punish you.’

Hawks: Beazley 7; Newton 6, Arthur 7, Cashman 4 (Hopkinson 45mins – 6), McDonald 5, Pearce 6, Igoe 7, Ramsey 6, Jones 6, Peacock 5, Braham-Barrett 5.

Att: 802.