Hawks boss hits out at ‘unacceptable’ display

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Horndean manager Michael Birmingham. Picture : Habibur Rahman

Horndean ‘boys became men’ in derby win

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Lee Bradbury branded the Hawks’ first-half performance as totally unacceptable as they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Bishop’s Stortford.

A second defeat in three Vanarama Conference South home games left the Westleigh Park boss frustrated and hugely disappointed.

When the Hawks did eventually improve in the second half, their old failings in front of goal let them down.

To make matters worse it was ex-Hawks player Joe Tabiri who showed them how it should be done with his first-half winner.

‘Our first half was nowhere near good enough,’ said Bradbury.

‘It looked like because we had won a couple of games the players thought all they had to do was turn up to win.

‘That isn’t acceptable and we didn’t earn ourselves the right to play.

‘We didn’t work hard enough, failed to win the individual battles and were not brave enough on the ball.

‘Bishop’s Stortford were much quicker than us to the second ball and controlled the midfield.

‘Just like in the opening games, it took us 45 minutes to get out of the traps.’

Bishop’s Stortford didn’t look like a side that had lost their last three games and posed a lively threat from the start.

Ex-Norwich City youngster Rod Young was particularly dangerous with his pace up front.

In contrast, the Hawks were lethargic and surrendered the midfield to the visitors.

It was no surprise when Stortford grabbed a 34th-minute lead with Young the instigator.

His fierce, angled shot was parried out at the near post by Hawks keeper Ryan Young.

The rebound fell to Tabiri and he stepped inside and picked his spot in the far corner of the net.

After the break, the home side gained an increasing amount of possession but lacked a cutting edge.

Josh Huggins and JJ Hooper should have done better with the two best chances that fell to them.

Huggins missed the target with a six-yard header when totally unmarked at a corner.

And Hooper failed to get his head on a Nic Ciardini cross in front of an open goal.

‘We created more chances in the final five minutes than we had in the rest of the game,’ said a disappointed Bradbury.

‘They were defending for their lives but it was too late from us.

‘We could have nicked a point but it would have been a bit of a steal.

‘The players need to learn that you have to be at it from the start if you want to pick up points.

‘Hopefully this will act as a kick up the backside for them.’

‘We were poor on Saturday and have to learn from it.

‘It is vital that we turn up with the right heads on and showing the correct attitude.

‘When a couple of chances fell to us we failed to take them.

‘I won’t stand for performances like that.’

Hawks: Young, Huggins (Strugnell, 86mins), Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Dutton, Swallow (Harris, 86mins), Donnelly, Mullings (Przespolewski, 64mins), Hooper, Ciardini. Att: 430