Havant & Waterlooville will focus on getting straight back up after defeat to Solihull Moors confirms relegation

Lee Bradbury admitted the Hawks fell short in both boxes but is determined to take them back up again after they were relegated from the Vanarama National League.

Sunday, 14th April 2019, 1:47 pm
Updated Sunday, 14th April 2019, 1:52 pm
Joe Quigley set the tone for another battling display but it wasn't enough for the Hawks. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160219-10)

A last-minute goal condemned them to a 3-2 defeat at Solihull Moors and sent them tumbling out of the division after being promoted last term.

Bradbury’s side, however, went down fighting with with a battling display against their promotion-chasing hosts.

The manager admitted the game mirrored perfectly the Hawks first-ever season in the top level of non-league football.

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Far too many times they have been competitive, got themselves into good positions in games, but come away empty-handed.

Bradbury felt it was yet another game where the Hawks deserved to come away with something.

He said: ‘We caused Solihull who are third in the league a lot of problems.

‘I couldn't fault the effort from the players but we were just undone by a bit of naivety for their goals.

‘Ten seconds before they scored the winner we had a great chance.

‘But the game mirrored our season as a whole.

‘We were a bit unfortunate and paid for a lack of experience.

‘Over a season you get judged on what happens in both boxes and we haven’t been good enough in either.’

The Hawks couldn't have wished for a better start after they were gifted a goal inside the opening 40 seconds.

Joe Quigley pressured the home goalkeeper and defender into making a mistake and rolled the ball into an empty net.

Solihull hit back to level before half-time when they scrambled the ball in from a corner.

The game looked up on 72 minutes when Alex Gudger powered in a header again from a corner.

Once more though the Hawks showed that they just don't know when to give up.

With four minutes remaining pressure was applied at a set-piece and Gudger headed into his own net.

Needing to win the visitors bravely kept pushing forward and were caught on the break at the death.

‘Even when we went 2-1 behind we refused to throw in the towel,’ added Bradbury.

‘But if you score twice away from home you have to expect to come away with something.

‘We knew staying in this league was always going to be a big ask.

‘I am proud of the effort put in by everyone at the club.

‘We all gave it absolutely everything and can have no regrets both on and off the pitch.

‘We've fallen just a little bit short.

‘What it has done is whet our appetite for playing at this level.

‘Our aim now is to get straight back up into this league and maybe then do one or two things differently.’

Hawks: Bilboe , Strugnell, Williams, Cordner,  Rose, McNamara, Carter, Robinson A, Donovan (Fogden 70), Quigley (Lewis 70), Rutherford.

Attendance: 1,179.