Hawks eye Fratton final

Hawks keeper Scott Bevan
Hawks keeper Scott Bevan
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

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The Hawks are determined to maintain their winning ways against Farnborough in tonight’s Hampshire Senior Cup quarter-final at Westleigh Park (7.45pm).

Lee Bradbury’s side will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 12 games by seeing off their fellow Skrill South visitors and earning a semi-final berth in the county competition.

Both teams are keen to return to action after having their games postponed at the weekend, because of the heavy rain which left pitches waterlogged.

The home side are optimistic, if there is no further rain, they can get their pitch fit enough to stage the game.

If their efforts fail, the two clubs have agreed to try again – 24 hours later on Tuesday night – in a bid to avoid a worsening fixture backlog.

That particularly applies to the Hawks, who, apart from their play-off ambitions, are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

Bradbury, however, insists he is taking the Hampshire Senior Cup seriously.

‘Winning is a good habit to get into and we want to keep our unbeaten run going,’ he said.

‘This is an important game for a number of reasons.

‘We haven’t played for a while and it will be good to get back out on the pitch.

‘It is also an opportunity to take a step closer to a showpiece Fratton Park final at the end of the season.

‘Both the players and myself are keen to get there.

‘It is a competition the club has never won and it would be great to put that record straight.’

Bradbury knows that getting past Farnborough won’t be easy, although they have already beaten them 2-1 at Westleigh Park early in the season.

That was Farnborough’s first game of the season, with the north Hampshire club being forced to sit out the whole of August because of financial problems.

A lot has happened since then and tonight’s visitors are now a far more competitive outfit.

They showed that three days after Christmas when they fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against the Hawks at the Paddy Power Stadium.

If it hadn’t been for some inspired goalkeeping from Scott Bevan in the second half, Bradbury’s side could easily have lost.

‘They showed what a big threat they can be going forward,’ admitted Bradbury.

‘Defensively, we will need to be a lot tighter against them.

‘Since then they have also got some players back and last week brought a couple of new ones in.

‘We will need to make sure that we are at our best to get the right result.’

Bradbury fielded a strong side against Sholing in the last round and is likely to do the same again.

New midfield signing Scott Donnelly, however, won’t be able to play against his former club as he is cup-tied.

Hawks: Bevan, Strugnall, Newton, Harris, Monteiro, Woodford, Blanchett, Cummings, Ryan, Atangana, Nanetti, Kabba, Oli, Jones, Ciardini, Przespolewski, Hutchinson, Ramsey, Searle, Noakes

n Saturday saw all games involving local clubs, apart from Gosport’s Skrill South game at Eastleigh, fall victim to the weather and waterlogged pitches throughout the area.

Weather permitting, normal service will resume to next Monday’s Non-League Scene.