Havant & Waterlooville boss admits gamble backfired in Bromley defeat

Lee Bradbury admitted his selection gamble badly backfired after the Hawks fell to a 3-0 defeat against Bromley.Â

Sunday, 30th December 2018, 10:48 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:13 am
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Neil Marshall

The Westleigh Park boss made five changes to his starting line-up, resting key players such as Rory Williams. 

Bradbury's decision to rotate his squad failed to pay off, though.

The disjointed Hawks delivered one of their poorest displays of the season when three vital National League points were on offer. 

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Bradbury held his hands up and conceded he made a mistake.

The manager said: '˜I made quite a few changes to try to keep us fresh but we looked miles off it.

'˜It was a mistake and I will hold up my hand and admit it. I'll take it on the chin, though, because that's my job. 

'˜It's tough when players are doing it week-in, week-out, and I wanted to rest a few for the game at Eastleigh on New Year's Day.

'˜Unfortunately we weren't competitive enough and failed to threaten them. We were outbattled, outfought and they possessed far too much experience for us. 

'To be honest, we were flaky at times and that's what hurts. We floated through the game and were just not effective enough. 

'˜It was our worst performance for a long time.' 

From the start, the visitors looked far more organised and sharper on the ball.

It was no more than they deserved when they took the lead six minutes before half-time.

Man-of-the-match Luke Coulson sent in a low shot that rebounded off the foot of the post.

Ex-Hawks forward JJ Hooper reacted quickest to knock the rebound into the net from close range.

There was little, if any, improvement from the home side after the break.

They fell further behind in the 66th minute when visiting captain Jack Holland headed in a free-kick at the near post.

The final nail was hammered into the Hawks' coffin five minutes from the end.

Coulson saw his first effort parried away by keeper Ben Dudzinski but easily hooked the rebound into the net.

Bradbury's side were without their three most experienced players in Paul Robinson, Brian Stock and Wes Fogden '“ all through injury.

The Hawks boss knows how big of a miss the trio were. 

'˜We looked leggy and never got into the game,' added Bradbury.

'˜The experience they had in their side made all the difference.

'˜With Paul Robinson, Brian Stock and Wes Fogden out injured it was something we lacked.

'˜You can bring players in but experience costs money.

'˜Also being part-time meant that we hadn't seen our players since Boxing Day.

'˜That is no excuse but a fact of life.'

Bradbury now faces the challenge of lifting his team for the New Year's Day derby at Eastleigh (3pm).

With the Hawks sitting in 18th place, the boss knows his troops need at least a point to ensure they don't fall back into the bottom four.