Gale slams ‘schoolboy’ defending

Hawks scorer Joe Keehan
Hawks scorer Joe Keehan
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Hawks boss Shaun Gale slammed his side’s defending as they crashed to a 3-2 defeat against Ebbsfleet United at West Leigh Park.

Twice the Hawks hauled themselves level, only to lose the contest with some hesitant defending 10 minutes from the end.

On a heavily-sanded pitch, it was Liam Daish’s visitors who adapted better to help the boss get one over his old club.

Gale, meanwhile, was understandably frustrated as his side continued to stutter in front of their home fans.

Hawks have managed just four wins from 11 home league games.

‘As much as I have praised my back four this season, the only player to come out with any credit defensively was Jake Newton,’ said Gale.

‘We conceded a schoolboy goal at the end to lose the game and we have to do better.

‘They did us with a straight ball as we were pushing out and that was poor defending.

‘I felt we gifted them all three goals.’

It was clear from the start that the pitch was going to make passing difficult.

The sanded area cut up badly and Gale admitted his side didn’t cope well.

He said: ‘We failed to play the conditions which didn’t suit our ball players.

‘I told the players that we needed to change the way we play to a degree to overcome the problems.

‘We needed to get the ball behind the Ebbsfleet defence quickly but didn’t do that.’

Ebbsfleet were quicker out of the blocks and, after only four minutes, Ashley Carew was given too much room on the edge of the area and he fired a shot beyond home keeper Aaron Howe.

The Hawks missed chances, notably when Sam Pearce fired over the top from two yards out.

But Joe Keehan put Gale’s men level five minutes before the break with an excellent volley into the top corner.

The home side looked revitalised at the start of the second half but paid for their lack of concentration from a 64th-minute corner.

No-one picked up Paul Lorraine’s perfectly-timed run and he sent a downward header into the net.

Within five minutes, though, Giuseppe Sole brought the scores level again with an excellent finish.

Both teams looked vul-nerable at the back but it was another mistake that sealed the Hawks’ fate.

Ebbsfleet substitute Ricky Shakes ran clear and knocked the ball through the legs of the stranded Howe to score.

‘It is frustrating because I didn’t think they were better than us,’ said Gale.

‘It was an opportunity to get closer to the play-offs but we are not going to throw the towel in.’

Hawks: Howe 6; Newton 7, McDonald 6, Selley 6, Pearce 5, Simpemba 6, Ramsey 5, Hinshelwood 5, Williams 6, Sole 7, Keehan 6 (Igoe 75mins).

Att: 857.