Hawks draw blank at Dorchester

Sahr Kabba went close to breaking the deadlock after coming on in the second half for the Hawks   Picture: Mick Young

Sahr Kabba went close to breaking the deadlock after coming on in the second half for the Hawks Picture: Mick Young

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No Hamlet happiness as Hawks crash

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The Hawks battled hard to grind out a deserved 0-0 draw against Dorchester Town at a muddy Avenue Stadium.

Boss Lee Bradbury gave debuts to their two new loanees as they returned to action for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Pompey full-back Alex Grant and midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham, from Wycombe Wanderers, were drafted straight into the starting line-up.

Chris Arthur was preferred to Sahr Kabba up front, with the latter dropping to the substitutes’ bench.

Grant missed a chance to make an early impression when Arthur’s corner fell to him at the near post.

The defender was unmarked but failed to make proper connection and the ball screwed across the six-yard area.

The pitch cut up from the start and soon resembled a ploughed field in places.

The Hawks went close when Arthur narrowly failed to get a touch on Palmer’s low ball at the far post.

Kewley-Graham’s 25-yard effort then lacked the power to trouble the home goalkeeper.

Both teams were showing signs of their enforced lay-off in a scrappy opening, although the heavy conditions were not helping.

On 21 minutes, Dan Strugnell was booked for going through the back of Charlie Clough.

From the resultant free-kick, Arron Pugh sent a header narrowly wide of the far upright.

On the half hour, Clark Masters rescued the Hawks by racing off his line and blocking Watson’s attempt to lift the ball over him. Twice the rebounds were kept out by defender Ed Harris inside his own area.

When Perry Ryan lost possession midway inside his own half, Clough drove forward and Grant had to race across to clear.

Both newcomers in the Hawks ranks were doing well with Kewley-Graham getting through a lot of work in midfield.

On the stroke of half-tim, Masters plucked a header from Ashley Nicholls out of the air after Nathan Walker hooked the ball back in from the back post.

Bradbury sent on Kabba in place of Ryan at the start of the second half, showing his intention of going for the win.

Kabba almost made a quick impact with a shot on the turn that was blocked inside the home area.

Almost immediately, Dorchester broke and forced a corner from which Dan Way volleyed narrowly past the angle of post and bar.

Both teams continued to work hard but passing was difficult on the uneven pitch.

On 74 minutes, Sam Malsom went within a whisker of breaking the deadlock for the home side.

The substitute latched on to a loose ball to the right of the area and his low, angled shot brushed narrowly past the foot of the far post.

Chances were few and far between, though, as both teams battled manfully through the mud.

Watson had a great chance 10 minutes from time but poked his shot straight at Masters from eight yards.

In the final minutes, Ollie Palmer headed over from a Nanetti corner.

Blue Square Bet South

DORCHESTER TOWN 0

HAWKS 0

Dorchester: Walker-Harris, Bell, Martin, Pugh, Walker, Jermyn, Crittenden, Nicholls, Watson, Clough, Way. Subs: Brooks, Spear, Peart, Malsom, Matthews.

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Grant, Hutchinson, Harris, Strugnell, Nanetti, Ryan, Palmer, Kewlwy-Graham, Arthur. Subs: Kabba, Pearce, Ramsey, Jones, Hinshelwood.

Referee: J O’Brien (London).

Att: 455

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