No more nails for Hawks boss after dramatic draw

Nigel Atangana. Picture: Dave Haines
Nigel Atangana. 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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Lee Bradbury praised the battling qualities of his Hawks after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Concord Rangers last night.

The Westleigh Park boss watched his men emerge with a point from a dramatic finale to the Skrill South contest.

Scott Donnelly and Nigel Atangana had already cancelled out strikes by Danny Glozier and Steve Cawley when Tony Stokes fired Concord in front again in stoppage-time.

But desperate not to be denied, the Hawks hit back immediately through Christian Nanetti.

And Bradbury reckons the breathtaking rescue mission – which stretched his side’s unbeaten run to nine games ahead of the visit of Staines tomorrow – highlights the never-say-die spirit in his squad.

‘It was good to come away with a point in the end but we could easily have got all three,’ said the boss.

‘Our last-gasp equaliser shows just how much my squad don’t want to be beaten.

‘It was a great game for the neutral but I haven’t got any fingernails left!

‘It was a great battling performance because not many teams will come from behind three times at this ground.

‘The players all worked hard for each other and refused to give up.

‘We are frustrated because we believe we should have had a stonewall penalty at the start of the second half.

‘Nic Ciardini has turned his defender who has pulled him back by the arm.

‘But on a positive note, Scott Donnelly probably had his best game to date for us and scored a wonderful free-kick.’

As expected, Bradbury continued to ring the changes because of his team’s punishing schedule.

He recalled Scott Bevan, Dan Blanchett, Pedro Monteiro, Nic Ciardini and Donnelly to the starting line-up.

And he also handed a first start to on-loan AFC Bournemouth striker Aristide Bassele.

The home side began brightly with Gary Ogilvie firing wide.

Cawley also volleyed over before the Hawks gradually found their feet.

When Donnelly delivered a corner to the near post, Bassele diverted the ball narrowly over the bar.

Disaster then struck for the Hawks as half-time approached.

They conceded for the first time in 450 minutes when full-back Blanchett found himself on the wrong side of a Concord attacker and sent him tumbling inside the area.

Glozier coolly rolled his spot-kick past Bevan and into the net only for the visitors to hit straight back.

Four minutes before the break Donnelly sent a 20-yard free-kick flying just inside the far post.

Early in the second half, Dennis Oli headed the ball to Ciardini 18 yards out but – as the attacker looked to pull the trigger – he went down under a double challenge.

However, his screams for a penalty were ignored by the referee.

Monteiro then headed straight at the keeper before the hosts regained the lead on 67 minutes.

Bevan pushed a low shot away but when Glozier cut the ball back, Cawley fired home from 15 yards.

But once again the Hawks hit back immediately as Atangana’s 20-yard effort took a deflection and dipped over the keeper.

Sahr Kabba then rattled the crossbar in stoppage-time and as Concord countered, Stokes shot past Bevan to give his side a sniff of glory.

The Hawks refused to give it up, though, and levelled for a third time when the host keeper could only help a Nanetti corner into his own net.

Hawks: Bevan, Strugnell, Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Monteiro, Ciardini, Atangana, Oli, Donnelly, Bassele. Subs: Kabba, Nanetti, Jones, Cummings, Hutchinson