Good performance as Havant & Waterlooville show plenty of heart but vital win eludes them at Sutton

Lee Bradbury believes it won't be from a lack of effort if the Hawks fail in their bid to stay in the Vanarama National League.

Sunday, 31st March 2019, 4:19 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st March 2019, 4:31 pm
Tyler Cordner scored twice for the Hawks. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160219-4)

The Hawks had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Sutton United in yet another game they so easily could have won.

With results elsewhere going against them failing to win makes staying up an increasingly tall order.

It meant the Hawks lost further ground on the teams above them.

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They are now eight points adrift of safety with just five games left to play.

Boss Bradbury admits going close yet being so far has been the story of the Hawks first-ever season in the top flight of non league football.

He also accepted that a draw wasn’t ideal for either side.

The boss said: ‘You could see by the way the game finished with both sides looking for the winner that neither of us wanted the draw.

‘It's a good performance to come here and have Sutton hanging on at the end.

‘I thought we coped really well but it's slightly disappointing not to have won the game.’

The visitors made the worst possible start conceding from the penalty spot after just five minutes.

Tyler Cordner was adjudged to have tripped an attacker in the area and the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot.

Ex-Hawk Jamie Collins easily beat debut making loan goalkeeper Laurence Bilboe with his spot-kick.

Cordner then set about making amends for his indiscretion in fine style to haul his side back into the contest.

Six minutes before the break he levelled matters with a fine header from a free-kick.

The AFC Bournemouth loanee struck again on 59 minutes to give his side the lead.

An Aswad Thomas handball on the edge of the home area led to a free-kick on the edge of the home area.

With everyone expecting Rory Williams to take the strike Cordner stepped up and smashed a superb shot low into the bottom corner.

Bradbury’s side however were denied the three points they so desperately needed eight minutes later.

After a goalmouth scramble following a corner Dean Beckwith back-heeled the ball into the net.

Even then the Hawks should have won it.

A frenetic finish saw the home side reduced to nine men through injury and a sending off.

It took a last-ditch tackle to deny leading goalscorer Alfie Rutherford.

Then in the dying seconds substitute Hassan Jalloh headed a great chance over the bar.

With the Hawks next three games, all against sides chasing promotion the odds are stacking up against Bradbury and his squad.

Sixth-placed Harrogate Town are next up at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

The home game against Ebbsfleet United has been moved to Good Friday (3pm).

Hawks: Bilboe, Strugnell, Williams, Woodford (Quigley 74), Fogden, Paterson (Jalloh 74), Carter (Paul 66), McNamara, Rutherford, Cordner, Donovan