Magpies swoop to deny Hawks

Benji Buchel. Picture: Dave Haines
Benji Buchel. Picture: Dave Haines
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Good show on the road as Hawks impress to beat Wealdstone

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The Hawks’ play-off quest will go to the final day of the season after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Maidenhead United at Westleigh Park.

If they fail to win at already-relegated Tonbridge Angels on Saturday, it will leave the door open for Dover Athletic – who are a point behind – to pip them to sixth spot in Skrill South.

Boss Lee Bradbury was left frustrated at not sealing the final play-off spot last night but insisted his troops have no time to lick their wounds.

He said: ‘It was hugely disappointing and a very tired performance from us.

‘Maidenhead caused us more problems with their pace and attack than any team has for a long time.

‘We just weren’t at it and didn’t pass the ball as well as we can.

‘We can have few complaints about the result, it is just massively frustrating to let a big opportunity pass us by.

‘We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, though – our fate is still in our hands.

‘The players need to lift themselves one final time.’

Dennis Oli made a surprise return after struggling with a groin problem but midfield playmaker Nigel Atangana was ruled out by a knee injury.

And with both teams needing a win, the game was open from the start.

After two minutes Lanre Azeez sent a low shot skidding narrowly past the post from just outside the box.

Five minutes later Benji Buchel pulled off a good one-handed diving save to prevent Adrian Clifton from putting the visitors ahead.

It was a nervous start from the Hawks against a Magpies side that looked lively up front.

And it was no surprise when Clifton gave the Magpies a deserved 25th-minute lead.

Azeez beat Dan Strugnell on the outside and when the ball was worked across the area Clifton drove firmly home.

The home side were at sixes and sevens every time the Magpies launched their quick breaks.

And it got worse for the hosts when Clifton extended the lead with his second goal of the game on 36 minutes.

The big striker climbed above Buchel at a deep corner and sent his header bouncing over the line.

The Hawks needed a quick response at the start of the second half.

But instead the misery continued with the Magpies adding a third goal after just two minutes.

Danny Green received the ball to the right of the area and was allowed time and space to cut inside and curl his shot past Buchel.

Bradbury soon rang the changes with Aristede Bassele and Christian Nanetti replacing the ineffective Sahr Kabba and Scott Jones.

But it was Clifton who threatened next – only to blaze over from eight yards.

And while the visitors were reduced to 10 men for the final 11 minutes – and substitute Eddie Hutchinson headed home in stoppage-time – the Hawks never really worried their visitors.

Hawks: Buchel, Strugnell, Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Harris, Ciardini, Donnelly, Oli, Kabba, Jones. Subs: Bassele, Nanetti, Przespolewski, Cummings, Hutchinson

Maidenhead United: Henley, Behzadi, Solomon, Brown, Nisbet, Erskine, Green, Clifton, Tison- Lascaris, Longden, Azeez. Subs: Pacquette, Grant, Pritchard, Ruby, Putnins