THE HAWKS crashed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of a powerful Woking outfit in the Blue Square Bet South.
Two goals in the opening seven minutes of the second period – one of which came 34 seconds after the restart – ended the match as a contest at the Kingfield Stadium.
It was one-way traffic from that point, and the visitors were lucky to concede just one more goal as they struggled to contain the league leaders.
‘Conceding a goal after just 34 seconds at the start of the second half killed us,’ said Hawks manager Shaun Gale.
‘I don’t know what goes through some players’ heads at half-time, because in the opening 45 minutes we more than matched a very good Woking side.
‘We frustrated them and looked comfortable.
‘Then we put ourselves on the backfoot, letting in an absolutely ridiculous goal again.
‘It has been a failing of ours all season and continues to be so.
‘That gave them a lift and we totally lost our way.’
The opening 45 minutes had looked promising for the hard-working Hawks.
Gale’s men harried and hustled Woking out of their stride.
Defensively, the Hawks looked sound, though they had one escape after 25 minutes when Chris Holland blocked Wayne Gray’s goalbound effort on the goal-line after a superb Woking passing move.
The momentum swung as the Hawks were caught cold in the opening seconds of the second half.
Adam Doyle hooked a ball over the Hawks’ back-line and Gray ran through to slide his shot into the net.
‘They didn’t have to do anything weird and wonderful for their goal,’ said Gale.
‘When the ball dropped in midfield we weren’t close enough and it was just a straight ball down our throat which we didn’t deal with.
‘It was very poor.’
Buoyed by the breakthrough, Woking took the game by the scruff of the neck and added a second, just six minutes later.
Moses Ademola was given time and space on the right and his low cross was emphatically finished by Gray, leaving the Hawks shell-shocked.
From that point, it virtually became one-way traffic, with the Hawks goal coming under siege for long spells.
Three times Gray narrowly missed out on securing his hat-trick, but Woking added a third goal in the 71st minute through former Pompey player Paris Cowan-Hall.
Hawks keeper Lyall Beazeley will feel he could have done better, after getting both hands to the pacy winger’s 25-yard shot only to push it into the roof of the net.
In the closing stages it was a case of damage limitation for the visitors who hardly mustered a threat, rarely getting out of their own half.
‘Our passing went to pieces and we became very frustrated,’ said Gale
‘We looked a spent force ,becoming very disjointed and ragged.
‘I just can’t catch my breath on how different we were from one half to the next.
‘Last week I thought we had found a few leaders when we came back to beat Dorchester but they went missing again on Saturday.
‘We are too nice. I have to try and work some magic and generate getting one or two players in and a couple out.
‘It is not a threat but the same failing keeps rearing its ugly head.
‘I need a ruthless defender in my side and we need to do it for 90 minutes.’
In-form striker Ollie Palmer and his partner in attack, Scott Jones, had little joy.
However, it was Palmer who came closest to scoring for Hawks.
He almost got the Westleigh Park outfit back into the game, midway through the second half, but was denied by a superb save from ex-Hawks keeper Aaron Howe, who acrobatically tipped his header over the bar.
Hawks: Beazely 6; Hinshelwood 7, McDonald 6, Ramsey 7, Holland 6, Woodford 6, Braham-Barrett 5, Ryan 7, Jones 6 (Peacock 65mins – 6), Igoe 5 (Whyte 17mins – 7), Palmer 6 (Pericard 72mins).