Hawks boss demands response from Cup woe

Christian Nanetti is a doubt for the Hawks tonight   Picture: Dave Haines
Christian Nanetti is a doubt for the Hawks tonight Picture: Dave Haines
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Good show on the road as Hawks impress to beat Wealdstone

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Hawks manager Stuart Ritchie is demanding a big response from his players as they host Weston-super-Mare in Blue Square Bet South tonight (7.45pm).

Ritchie slammed his players after they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Southern League south & west minnows North Leigh on Saturday.

It was the manner of the 1-0 defeat that made it difficult for Ritchie to stomach.

The home side displayed a far greater appetite and outplayed the Hawks for most of the tie.

Nothing less than a win against the third-from-bottom Seagulls tonight will satisfy Ritchie.

‘A number of players here need to think what they are about and look at their future at the club,’ said a disappointed Ritchie.

‘A few have become too comfortable and that is not what we are about.

‘We have lacked the determination to win games and don’t yet have that winning mentality that (assistant manager) Barry Blankley and I are trying to instill.

‘It may need us to bring in new people to get that impetus and passion to win games.’

The Hawks go into the game just two points ahead of the Seagulls in 18th place after triumphing just once from their opening eight league games.

Ritchie’s side have drawn five times but he knows they need to start winning if they are to climb away from the danger zone.

Weston-super-Mare are the lowest scorers in the league – with just five goals to their name – so the Hawks will have high hopes of keeping a first clean sheet of the season.

Ritchie is waiting on the fitness of full-back Chris Arthur and winger Christian Nanetti – both key figures in his squad.

Nanetti injured himself in the pre-match warm up at North Leigh and Arthur limped off midway through the first half.

Exeter City loanee Aaron Dawson is available again in midfield after his parent club refused permission for him to play in the FA Cup on Saturday.

‘I feel sorry for our supporters who made the trip up to North Leigh,’ said Ritchie.

‘We have to get better and quickly.

‘We weren’t brave enough and didn’t have the quality to craft something when we needed it.

‘You learn things about individual players in situations like this – who can push a team on to win and those who can’t.

‘Barry and I knew when we took the task on that it wasn’t going to be a five-minute job.

‘Some things are going on too long, though, and we need to take stock and deal with them.’

Hawks (from): Masters, Newton, Page, Harris, Arthur, Hinshelwood, Bailey, Hutchinson, Dawson, Ramsey, Taggart, Nanetti, Palmer, Kabba, Moss, Jones, Woodford, Ryan