Hawks battle from behind to tame Tigers

The Hawks had to be patient before coming from behind to defeat 10-man Gloucester City 2-1 at Westleigh Park.

Tuesday, 27th February 2018, 8:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th February 2018, 9:54 pm
Jason Prior. Picture Ian Hargreaves

Jason Prior and Theo Lewis were on target for the hosts as they moved back into second in the National League South table.

Lee Bradbury named an unchanged starting line-up from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Hemel Hempstead.

However, striker Alfie Rutherford returned from illness to take a place among the substitutes, with Lee Molyneaux dropping out of the match-day squad.

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Both teams made a positive start on a bitterly cold evening, with the pitch in a remarkably good condition.

In the seventh minute Rory Williams broke down the left for the Hawks and picked out Matt Tubbs, who headed over the crossbar.

On 12 minutes the Tigers were reduced to 10 men when Sam Avery was foolishly sent off.

The Gloucester captain felt Wes Fogden had dived on the edge of the area and pushed the midfielder two-handed to the floor as he got back up.

The assistant referee intervened and Avery was given a straight red card.

From the resulting free-kick, visiting goalkeeper James Hamon produced a flying save to deny Williams.

Prior was inches away from converting a Bradley Tarbuck cross as he raced in at the far post in the 23rd minute.

Despite having the majority of the possession, the home side failed to make a breakthrough before half-time.

James Hayter replaced Jordan Rose at the start of the second half as Bradbury switched to three up front.

However, Gloucester stunned the Hawks by taking the lead in the 57th minute when Joe Parker scored with an opportunist long-range strike.

Home keeper Ryan Young was left stranded after racing well out of his area to kick clear.

The ball fell to Parker, who lobbed the ball into the unguarded net from the halfway line.

Nevertheless, Young made up for his error when tipping Joe Hank’s header over the bar.

It was Prior who finally dragged the Hawks level on 65 minutes when he crashed in a low cross at the far post.

Bradbury’s troops started to pile on the pressure and it paid off in the 77th minute.

Brian Stock delivered a corner and Theo Lewis glanced a deft header into the far corner of the net to wrap the three points up for the Hawks.