Eastleigh 2-1 Hawks

The Hawks slipped to a 2-1 defeat in a pulsating National League derby against Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium.

Tuesday, 1st January 2019, 4:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:22 am
Hawks keeper Ben Dudzinski Picture: Keith Woodland

For the second time in a week there was little to choose between the two sides, with their Boxing Day match-up ending 2-2.

But on this New Year's Day occasion the Spitfires won the game five minutes from time with a wonderful strike from Josh Hare. Earlier in the second half, substitute Hassan Jalloh had equalised after the Hawks fell behind to an Andrew Joyce effort on 56 minutes.

Manager Lee Bradbury rang the changes for the return game against Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium. Rory Williams, Ryan Woodford, Theo Lewis and Tyler Frost returned to the starting line-up.

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Wes Fogden, Ibra Sekajja and Alex Bradley also re-appeared on the substitutes' bench.

Three of the Hawks' most experienced players, Brian Stock, Paul Robinson and Ed Harris were all ruled out by injury.

A poor pass from Williams, sending the ball straight to Mark Yeates, put the visitors in trouble early on. But the defender managed to recover and cleared at the expense of a corner. On 13 minutes Yeates fired a shot straight at Hawks keeper Ben Dudzinski after good approach play on the edge of the area.

And as the home side continued to edge proceedings, Ben Williamson had a half chance that went straight at the visiting No1. It then took a great double save from the increasingly-busy Dudzinski to keep the Hawks on level terms. He went full length to parry away a fiercely struck shot from Joey Jones.

Yeates latched on to the rebound but again the custodian spread himself to keep out the second attempt. Eight minutes into the second period and Dudzinski saved the visitors again. Reda Johnson rose unmarked six yards out to power in a header which the keeper pushed over the bar. The visitors continued to live dangerously as from the resulting corner Boyce sent a header thumping against the far post. There was no let-up in the pressure and on 56 minutes the Spitfires made it count.

When another corner came in Johnson thundered in an unstoppable header.

The Hawks responded well and within nine minutes grabbed a deserved equaliser.

Substitute Fogden's low shot was half-saved and substitute Jalloh tucked in the loose ball.

That set up an interesting climax to the game, with both teams pushing for the winner.

But five minutes from time the hosts regained the lead with a stunning strike.

In a quick breakaway, Hare rifled a magnificent 25-yard angled shot into the top far corner of the net to settle the encounterHawks: Dudzinski, Strugnell, Williams, Woodford, Lewis, Kabamba, Tarbuck, Robinson A, Rutherford, Cordner, Frost. Substitutes : Fogden, Sekajja, Bradley, Paul, Jalloh.