Young heroics earn Hawks point

Ryan Young. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
Ryan Young. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Keith Woodland

Hawks boss sickened by home form

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Lee Bradbury praised Ryan Young’s remarkable second-half save, which spared the Hawks’ blushes in their 1-1 Vanarama Conference South draw against Maidenhead United.

With the two sides on level terms midway through the second half at Westleigh Park, the home side were exposed by a quick counter-attack down the left.

When the cross arrived Dave Tarpey, who had already put the visitors ahead in the first half, was left with the simple task of knocking the ball in from point-blank range.

Somehow the Hawks captain flung himself across the goal-line and diverted the goalbound shot over the crossbar.

‘It was a fantastic save by our goalkeeper but he does that a lot,’ said manager Bradbury.

‘He made himself big and got a touch to take the ball over the bar.

‘When we have a lot of possession and he hasn’t had much to do his concentration levels have been great.

‘His save kept us in the game.’

It was another below-par performance from the Hawks, particularly in the opening 45 minutes when they created few chances.

At the other end, defender Warren Cummings had to be alert when he cleared Mark Nisbet’s close-range shot off the goal-line after 12 minutes.

Tarpey put the Magpies ahead in the 36th minute, though, when a through ball split the home defence, allowing him to run through and beat Young with a low shot.

The home side then suffered a double blow on the stroke of half-time when they lost two attackers.

Ben Wright picked up an injury and replaced by Shamir Mullings, while Harry Cornick also had to be substituted.

It was a surprise when Bradbury sent on Dan Blanchett for the on-loan player.

However, it was the substitute who was the unlikely hero as he brought his team level in the 59th minute.

Ben Swallow weaved his way to the by-line and his inch-perfect cross was headed in by Blanchett.

Young then produced his wonder-save before the hosts went in search of a winner.

Maidenhead were forced to play the final 15 minutes a man short after Leon Solomon was sent off.

At this point, the home side sensed they could snatch all three points and would have done so but for a great reaction save from Ashley Timms to deny JJ Hooper at the death.

An inability to win at home – the Hawks have claimed a single success in their last five fixtures at Westleigh Park
– is hampering their play-off bid.

The point kept them fifth in the table and three points ahead of Gosport Borough.

However, their south-coast rivals have two games in hand.

Bradbury remained upbeat, even though he was disappointed the Hawks had failed to win in front of their home supporters again.

‘We need to be beating teams 
like Maidenhead at home,’ said the boss.

‘The team showed good ability to come from behind and we should have won it.

‘In the second half we showed a lot more resolve, took the game to them and got on the front foot.

‘We have to take the positives out of it and it is another game where we have not lost.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Cummings, Stock, Woodford, Harris, Swallow, Donnelly, Wright (Mullings, 41min), Bubb (Hooper, 75min), Cornick (Blanchett, 44min).

Att: 766