Hawks hungry to hit back after double blow

Perry Ryan, left. Picture: Dave Haines

Perry Ryan, left. Picture: Dave Haines

Jordan Rose competing for the Hawks in the final at Fratton Park. Picture: Sarah Standing

Rose completes Hawks deal and targets more success

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The Hawks suffered a second Skrill South defeat in the space of 48 hours as they went down 3-1 to play-off chasing rivals Sutton United at Gander Green Lane last night.

Perry Ryan hauled his side level at the end of the first half but the hosts proved too strong after the break.

Lee Bradbury’s side now face the task of picking up the pieces against high-flying Bromley at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

But despite the setbacks the boss remains upbeat and believes his team will bounce back.

‘We are determined not to give it up,’ he said.

‘The two defeats this week have only made us hungrier to go out and nick the fifth play-off spot.

‘We are still only a point behind fifth-placed Dover with a game in hand.

‘There are a lot of positives to come out of this game because I thought we played well.

‘Their manager Paul Doswell rated us as the best team they have played this year.

‘We have had a punishing run of games but the players still showed a lot of energy and desire.’

Bradbury opted to make four changes to his starting line-up – which included the return of Pedro Monteiro at the heart of the defence.

Nic Ciardini made his return from injury to boost the Hawks’ fire-power, with Scott Donnelly and Sahr Kabba also reappearing.

But the visitors made the worst possible start – falling behind after only two minutes following a Dan Strugnell error.

The defender gave the ball away in midfield and Jamie Taylor raced to the byline and crossed for Kane Haysman to tap in from close range.

The Hawks tried to hit back but Ciardini’s shot was blocked.

Regardless, they looked to have regained their composure.

However, the hosts went close to extending their lead when Gavin McCallum fired across the face of goal before the visitors levelled on 41 minutes.

Ciardini delivered a corner and Ryan powered a terrific header home from eight yards.

‘Conceding early through some uncharacteristically poor defending didn’t help,’ said Bradbury.

‘But after that we got ourselves back into the game.’

Sutton were almost caught cold early in the second half when Ciardini sent a 25-yard shot crashing against the crossbar with keeper Jason Brown well beaten.

Both Kabba and Ciardini then forced good saves from Brown as the Hawks maintained their good start.

The visitors had a big let off, however, when Taylor blazed over from 15 yards with just Benji Buchel to beat.

And the Hawks failed to heed that warning as Taylor restored Sutton’s lead on 55 minutes.

Damien Scannell produced some neat footwork on the left edge of the box before crossing for Taylor to head home.

Bradbury said: ‘Their second goal was against the run of play and left us chasing the game.

‘That allowed them the space to grab a third.’

It took a superb save from Brown to keep out Donnelly’s near-post header as the visitors refused to let their heads drop.

But the hosts killed the game off six minutes from time when Craig Dundas finished well from 15 yards.

HAWKS: Buchel, Strugnell, Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Monteiro, Ciardini, Atangana, Oli, Kabba, Donnelly. Subs: Cummings, Paterson, Nanetti, Przespolwski, Bassele

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