Bradbury hails his steely Hawks
Lee Bradbury saluted the steely attitude of his Hawks as they ground out another away win in National League South.
A 53rd-minute strike from substitute Alfie Rutherford earned them a 1-0 win at East Thurrock United.
It was a seventh success on the road for the Westleigh Park outfit, who have only suffered one defeat on their travels this term.
The victory in Essex saw the Hawks rise to fourth place in the table.
And Bradbury was once again impressed with the mental toughness shown by his troops.
The manager said: ‘We produced another very good performance. After starting well we should have been two or three up in the opening 20 minutes.
‘East Thurrock are a hard-working side, though, and came back at us.
‘But we were very strong defensively and kept them out.
‘This performance – like most away from home this season – shows the players are determined not to get beaten.
‘They are prepared to put their bodies on the line for each other to ensure that doesn’t happen.
‘And I always feel we have that extra bit of quality to make it count.’
The Hawks started positively – with Theo Lewis going close inside the first minute.
Further chances fell to Bradbury’s side but when they didn’t go in, the boss felt maybe it wasn’t going to be their day.
The turning point came at the start of the second half, though, with the introduction of Rutherford.
The young striker’s pace immediately caused East Thurrock problems.
And within six minutes of entering the fray, the former Pompey Academy ace grabbed the decisive goal.
Rutherford did well to keep the ball in close to the touchline.
He then cut inside the area before firing a superb shot into the bottom corner of the net.
‘It is great having someone like Alfie to come on and make an impact off the bench,’ added Bradbury.
‘He is making it very difficult for me to leave him out of the team.’
Not long after the goal, East Thurrock were reduced to 10 men – and Rutherford was again involved.
Lee Burns had only been on the pitch four minutes when he received a straight red card for allegedly stamping on the Hawks striker.
East Thurrock applied late pressure but the visitors held firm to keep them out.