Last-gasp Lafayette goal crushes Hawks

On-loan Pompey youngster Dan Butler made his Hawks debut against Welling today
On-loan Pompey youngster Dan Butler made his Hawks debut against Welling today
Matt Tubbs played well against Sutton. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Injuries are big concern but defensive errors also worry Hawks

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A late goal sent struggling Hawks to a 1-0 Blue Square Bet South defeat against Welling United at Westleigh Park.

The Hawks put in a much-improved performance but Ross Lafayette’s goal 12 minutes from time left them pointless.

The home side gave debuts to new loan signings – midfielder Stefan Hamilton-Forbes from Watford and young Pompey full-back Dan Butler

Striker Scott Jones returned to the starting line-up to partner Ollie Palmer up front.

Christian Nanetti (injured) and Eddie Hutchinson (ill) were both missing from the squad.

Welling started on the front foot and twice in the opening minute home goalkeeper Clark Masters left his line to gather crosses.

Jones showed early prominence for the Hawks with a couple of bursting runs down the right.

Striker partner Palmer did well to rob Connor McLaren and cut inside the area, before seeing his shot blocked for a corner.

The visitors went close on 11 minutes when Masters spilled Joe Healy’s shot and Ryan Woodford cleared just ahead of Loui Fazackerley.

Soon afterwards, Healy lofted another effort wide of the far post after a simple ball forward caught the Hawks defence out.

Neither side could find a breakthrough in an evenly-fought opening 20 minutes, though Jones saw his shot from inside the area kept out by a last-ditch block.

It took some desperate defending from the Hawks on 27 minutes as they cleared a corner from underneath their own crossbar.

Butler was having a busy debut, linking up well with Tony Taggart on the left.

Chances were rare, and when Lee Clarke looked to escape down the left, Steve Ramsey raced back to make a superb saving tackle.

Masters pulled off a terrific flying save to keep out Day’s free-kick a minute before half-time.

Half-time: Hawks 0 Welling 0

At the start of the second half, Masters was flattened late by Lafayette, who remarkably escaped without a booking.

Palmer almost jinked his way through inside the Welling area as the Hawks applied some sustained pressure.

Taggart dinked a lovely cross to the far post, where the ball skimmed off the head of Palmer.

The Hawks were looking a far more solid unit than of late, making it difficult for Welling to make any headway.

Ryan Woodford’s header from a corner dropped over the top as the Hawks looked for an elusive opening goal.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, it was increasingly looking as though a single goal could settle it.

Woodford had a great let off when he needlessly lost the ball on the far edge of his own area.

To his credit, the youngster recovered to get back and tackle Lafayette before he could take advantage.

It was Welling who made the breakthrough 12 minutes from time, scoring from a corner.

The near post ball was met by Lafayette, whose flick was blocked on the line.

The ball rebounded back to the forward and his second effort was deflected past Masters.

The home side immediately sent on Sahr Kabba for Taggart.

But despite pushing forward, the home side didn’t look like rescuing the situation.

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Butler, Bailey, Harris, Woodford, Taggart, Ramsey, Palmer, Jones, Hamilton-Forbes. Subs: Page, Kabba, Hinshelwood, Ryan, Moss.

Welling: Mott, McLaren, Obersteller, Kinch, Acheampong, Gallagher, Fazackerley, Clarke, Day, Lafayette, Healy. Subs: Fairweather-Johnson, Hughes- Mason, Main, Guthrie, Turner.

Referee: M Pottage ( Gillingham).