Hawks suffer narrow loss at high-fliers

Ollie Palmer had the Hawks' best chances at Welling    Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Palmer had the Hawks' best chances at Welling Picture: Dave Haines
Matt Tubbs played well against Sutton. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Injuries are big concern but defensive errors also worry Hawks

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The Hawks slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against title-chasing Welling United at Park View Road.

Ben Martin’s header from a 60th-minute corner proved enough to condemn the visitors to defeat in a close-fought encounter.

Lee Bradbury made one change, with full-back Alex Grant coming in for striker Sahr Kabba.

The Hawks included new loan signing from Wycombe Wanderers, Emmanuel Ighorae, amongst their substitutes.

Ollie Palmer was quickly in the action as the Hawks started down the considerable slope at Park View Road.

When Dan Strugnell misjudged a long bouncing ball, forward Ross Lafayette fired past the post from just inside the area.

Clark Masters then had to race out of his area to kick the ball away as a neat pass almost put in Kiernan Hughes-Mason.

Welling maintained their pressure and Lafayette sent a shot on the turn past the far post.

The game fell into a lull around the 15-minute mark, with neither side able to impose themselves.

Chris Arthur delivered a good cross to the the far post where Palmer’s ambitious overhead kick failed to come off.

A foul on Christian Nanetti gave the Hawks a free-kick to the left of the area but Jessie Kewley-Graham failed to get the ball beyond the first defender.

Some neat passing down the right released Hughes-Mason but Jake Newton got back to nick the ball away and clear.

Hawks captain Ed Harris was booked for a tackle on the edge of his area and Jamie Day’s dipping free-kick was deflected behind for a corner.

The visitors were looking solid at the back but not creating a great deal going forward as half-time approached.

Day drilled in an awkward 20-yard shot that Masters collected at the second attempt in the opening minutes of the second period.

Steve Ramsey then capitalised on a misunderstanding in the home midfield to slip the ball through to Palmer.

The striker raced clear to the edge of the Welling area, only to slice his shot wide of the near post.

There was still little to choose between the two sides and, nine minutes in, new-boy Ighorae replaced Arthur.

Newton was superb at the back for the Hawks, cutting out a stream of forward balls from the home side.

The visitors were almost caught out in a swift counter-attack when Hughes-Mason sprinted the length of the pitch and set up Jon Main.

Main hesitated in front of goal and the ball was cleared for a corner.

The Hawks’ escape was short-lived, though, as from the 60th minute corner, Welling made the all-important breakthrough.

From the flag-kick the ball was hit deep to the far post where Martin rose above Harris to thump a header high into the net.

In response the Hawks sent on Kabba in place of Ramsey.

John Gallagher and Hutchinson were booked when they clashed on halfway.

Nanetti twisted and turned his way to the byline and his low ball was turned behind at the near post.

Palmer went close to rescuing a point in the final five minutes but after surging into the box, his shot was pushed away by Sam Mott in the home goal.

Blue Square Bet South

WELLING UNITED 1 (Martin 60)

HAWKS 0

Welling United: Mott, Vanderhyde, Obersteller, Day, Martin, Acheampong, Hughes-Mason, Gallagher, Main, Lafayette, Healy. Subs: Kinch, Turner, Fairweather-Johnson, Clarke, Franks.

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Grant, Hutchinson, Harris, Strugnell, Nanetti, Ramsey, Kewley-Graham, Palmer, Arthur. Subs: Kabba, Ryan, Jones, Woodford, Ighorae.

Referee: S Butler.