Stearn lesson for below-par Hawks

Hawks striker Sahr Kabba scored in the 3-1 defeat Picture: Dave Haines

Hawks striker Sahr Kabba scored in the 3-1 defeat Picture: Dave Haines

Aaron Dawson

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The Hawks suffered a case of Bath-time blues as they slipped to a 3-1 Skrill South defeat at Twerton Park on Saturday.

Bath City’s tormentor-in-chief, Ross Stearn, grabbed a hat-trick to condemn Lee Bradbury’s side to only their second away defeat of the season.

The visitors arrived 40 minutes late for the game due to traffic problems – meaning kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes.

The game suffered further lengthy stoppages, because of injuries to players and officials.

But boss Bradbury refused to use those as an excuse for his team’s below-par performance.

He said: ‘It is disappointing and we have come out of the game knowing that we have carried a couple of players.

‘When there are a few players not at their best you know you are going to struggle.

‘The difference on Saturday was their little lad Stearn, who was a livewire and ended with a hat-trick.

‘We were late getting here but the players cannot use that as an excuse.

‘The players had more than enough time to warm up.’

When the game eventually started, it was the home side who took a deserved 16th-minute lead.

Stearn was fouled just outside the Hawks area and the forward proceeded to bury his low free-kick past the defensive wall into the bottom corner of the net.

The visitors failed to create a single chance in the opening 45 minutes, with Scott Jones and Alek Przespolewski looking off the pace.

‘In the first half we failed to create anything so I changed it at half-time,’ said Bradbury

‘For some reason, we looked nervy on a lively playing surface and couldn’t seem to get a foothold in the game.

‘At times we looked a little bit fragile and didn’t pick up enough second balls in midfield.

‘So we went 4-4-2 and pushed Christian Nanetti out wide for a bit of creativity and brought on Sahr Kabba to exploit his pace.’

The change soon worked, with an equaliser arriving within five minutes of the restart.

Dennis Oli neatly knocked the ball back at the near post for Kabba to score.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were not able to build on that momentum as an injury to the referee’s assistant led to another 11-minute delay.

‘At that point we were in the ascendancy and it was only us who were going to go on and win it,’ said Bradbury.

‘But the next goal killed us and the penalty soon afterwards left us with a mountain to climb.’

Stearn put his side back in front on 71 minutes, and four minutes later scored from the spot after falling over an outstretched Hawks leg inside the box.

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Chase, Kewley-Graham, Strugnell, Monteiro, Ciardini, Ryan (Atangana 80m), Oli, Przespolewski (Nanetti 45m), Jones (Kabba 45m)

Att: 451

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