Hawks happy with point after Woodford sees red

Nic Ciardini. Pic: Dave Haines
Nic Ciardini. Pic: Dave Haines
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Hawks boss Lee Bradbury was pleased with the way his side dug in to take a point at Dover after seeing Ryan Woodford sent off.

It was a controversial red card but Hawks battled on to draw the Blue Square Bet South clash 0-0.

Bradbury even felt his resilient troops were unfortunate not to take all three points.

He said: ‘In the end we were unlucky not to come away with a win.

‘We didn’t throw it in after losing Ryan and it was really positive performance.

‘Dover never looked like scoring against us in the closing stages and if we had kept 11 players on the pitch we would have won.

‘I thought the sending off was harsh but we have come away with a good point in the end.

‘This is a hard place to come up against a team with the best defensive record in the league.’

There were few chances for either side in the opening 45 minutes.

But the Hawks did have one escape, seven minutes before the break.

Ricky Modeste went clear and, after Hawks goalkeeper Scott Bevan blocked his first effort, he hooked the rebound wide of the far post.

Woodford picked up a booking for a cynical late challenge to prevent Dover launching a quick counter-attack.

That was to come back to haunt him later.

On the hour-mark the defender clumsily went to ground with Dover’s big striker Nathan Elder, midway inside the Hawks half.

The referee adjudged it worthy of a second booking and sent him off.

But it looked as though it was the striker who managed to roll Woodford and was the guilty party.

The decision meant the Hawks had to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men.

Bradbury soon rang the changes, sending on the experienced Eddie Hutchinson to shore up the defence, moving Dennis Oli into midfield and introducing Sahr Kabba to try to snatch a goal.

To the Hawks credit, the home side were denied any clear-cut chances for the rest of the game.

Twice in the final four minutes, though, Nic Ciardini almost snatched a dramatic winner for the visitors.

First he saw his excellent shot from the edge of the area clawed out of the top corner by goalkeeper Mitch Walker.

And deep into stoppage time his low drive was deflected against the outside of the near post.

Bradbury has seen his side suffer just one defeat in six games on their travels this season.

The Hawks boss said: ‘It was always going to be tight but I was pleased with the way my players worked hard for each other and threw their bodies on the line.

‘Everyone put a shift in.

‘In the first half we didn’t pass and play the ball as well as we can and if we had, we probably would have won the game.

‘There was little between the two teams and we both started a little tentatively.

‘I wanted us to grab the game by the scruff of the neck at the start of the second half but we didn’t really get the chance to do that.

‘Defensively, though, I was really pleased.’

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Blanchett Kewley-Graham, Strugnell, Woodford, Ciardini, Ryan (Atangara 58), Oli, Przespolewski (Hutchinson 61), Jones (Kabba 75).

Att: 593.

n The Hawks youth team host Burgess Hill in the FA Youth Cup tonight. Moneyfields take on Weston-super-Mare on Thursday night.