Hawks' 3G playing surface receives high praise from Hayling United boss Dan Bishop after win against Clanfield
Hayling United manager Dan Bishop was left lauding the 3G playing surface at Westleigh Park after his side returned to competitive action with a Hampshire Premier League Senior Division victory on Saturday.
The Humbugs boss was delighted as his troops ran out 3-1 winners over Clanfield, who are groundsharing with the Hawks this season.
But it was Hayling who looked right at home on the artificial surface under the lights at Westleigh Park.
They came flying out of the traps, racing into a three-goal advantage by the break thanks to goals from Josh Watts, George Gregory and centre-back Toby Wilson.
Boss Bishop could see from the warm-up how much the Hawks' playing surface suited his squad.
And his assessment would prove correct as the Humbugs were winners on their return to action after the month-long 'non-elite' football suspension.
Bishop said: ‘It really does suit us (the Westleigh Park surface).
‘We’ve got a team who like to move the ball quickly, use the whole pitch, spread it from left to right quickly to stretch teams.
‘We’ve got some young, very technically gifted players and it really does suit us.
‘It’s a shame we can’t play there every week.
‘I’m hugely jealous that it’s not our home pitch.
‘I saw in the warm-up how much it suited us.
‘We do a couple of little passing drills just to get their heads on it to see where they’re at. Normally, it breaks down after seven or eight passes but this time it went on for 50 or 60.‘I knew quite early on that we were going to be on it.’
Watts put the visitors on their way to victory, netting the opener on 20 minutes.
Gregory then grabbed the second seven minutes before the break with Wilson making it three two minutes later.
Clanfield pulled one back through Owen Milne with 20 minutes to play.
The hosts also had a goal chalked off for a foul as Hayling came under some late pressure.
Bishop was impressed by the way Clanfield battled back in the second half and believes manager Lee Blakely is taking them in the right direction.
‘We looked completely in control in the first half - they had one or two half chances - which they’re going to,' added Bishop.
‘I think Lee Blakely is doing a great job over there and he’s getting the right type of players in.
‘Second half was a different story, they stiffened up and were quite ruthless in making two substitutes at half time and disrupted us.
‘But credit to Clanfield they were much, much better and I think they’ll do alright this season.’