Bradbury hails spirit as Hawks halt Folkestone charge
Lee Bradbury praised the spirited display that earned the Hawks a 1-0 Ryman League premier division win over Folkestone Invicta at Westleigh Park.
A 13th-minute Alfie Rutherford goal proved enough to give the home side a well-deserved victory.
But for the heroics of visiting goalkeeper Tim Roberts, the Hawks would have won by a far bigger margin.
The only blot on the afternoon was an injury to Brian Stock, who was stretchered off in the closing minutes.
‘To be fair to Folkestone, they were a difficult team to play against,’ said Bradbury.
‘They were full of energy, running and made it hard for us physically.
‘We matched them and in the end deserved to win by more.
‘Their keeper made two great saves off Alfie and we failed to take a couple of other opportunities we made.
‘I am happy we won but I am even happier with the clean sheet.
‘Clean sheets provide the foundations and give you a chance.’
Folkestone arrived on the south coast boasting a 21-game unbeaten record – and that showed in their confident start to the game.
But the Hawks gradually took charge and it was no more than they deserved when they took the lead.
Folkestone failed to clear a ball in from the left and when it fell to Rutherford he drove a half-volley beyond the diving Roberts and inside the post.
It was the striker’s first goal for the club and he continued to terrorise the visiting defence for the rest of the half.
Bradbury added: ‘Alfie is a little sniffer.
‘The lad wants to shoot and score goals all the time.
‘He was unlucky on another couple of occasions and could easily have ended with a hat-trick.’
While the Hawks remained the dominant force after the break, Folkestone also looked lively on the counter.
The fact they drew a blank was largely down to a man-of-the-match performance by Andy Robinson in the heart of the defence.
‘Andy was strong, took up some really good positions and won his headers,’ said Bradbury.
‘We defended well from back to front and that is what we need every week.
‘Teams playing against us will have a real go and we must maintain our work ethic.
The afternoon was marred in the closing stages when midfielder Stock took a heavy knock following an aerial challenge.
Stock was unconscious for a lengthy period of time before being stretchered off.
Thankfully the news 24 hours later was good after a scan revealed everything was okay.
However, he is highly unlikely to appear at Metropolitan Police tomorrow night.
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Stock (Molyneaux, 88min), Woodford, Robinson, Swallow, Lewis, Prior, Rutherford (Paterson, 67min), Fogden (Tarbuck, 67min). Att: 520