Hawks boss breathes sigh of relief after Trophy winner
Lee Bradbury was relieved to see the Hawks edge to a 2-1 FA Trophy first qualifying round win at Southern League premier division Cirencester Town on Saturday.
Substitute Jason Prior headed home the winner two minutes into stoppage-time.
Bradbury felt his team were not at their best but was happy to avoid an unwanted replay.
He said: ‘We got away with one. In my eyes we didn’t make enough of the good areas we got into.
‘We were nowhere near our best and ultimately we have won the game. I have to be pleased with that.
‘Cirencester got out of the blocks very quickly and got on top of us.
‘They hit the post and the crossbar within the space of a minute and put us on the back foot.
‘They had a real go and we knew they would do.
‘We managed to ride that storm and get our noses in front.’
Bradbury rang the changes – giving a surprise first appearance of the season to keeper Charlie Searle.
He also brought Lee Molyneaux, Andy Robinson, Alfie Rutherford and James Hayter back in.
The reshuffled line-up found themselves under early pressure and were fortunate not to fall behind.
Midway through the half the diving Searle was beaten by a 20-yard shot which thumped back off the post. And within a minute the home side had seen another effort bounce over off the top of the crossbar.
Having ridden their luck, the visitors broke out to take the lead after 31 minutes.
After he was put through by a neat Hayter header, Rutherford showed just what a cool finisher he is.
The striker outpaced the defence and clinically fired a shot under the advancing Cirencester keeper.
After that the Hawks controlled much of the game but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Cirencester drew level in the 69th minute when Ross Langworthy saw his free-kick go in at the far post.
With time running out and a replay on the cards Rory Williams swung in a free-kick from the left.
Prior rose at the far post and while the home keeper got his hand to the ball, he couldn’t keep it out.
That proved enough to put the Hawks in today’s draw for the next round.
‘We played some good football but the crossing and movement in the box just didn’t come together,’ added Bradbury.
‘There was nothing wrong with the way we competed.
‘I was disappointed with their goal – I thought their player was offside.
‘We were also denied a stonewall penalty for a foul on James Hayter.
‘Towards the end we brought Jason Prior on and he did what he does best.’
Hawks: Searle, Strugnell, Woodford, Molyneaux (Harris, 81min), Williams, Stock (Ridge, 65min), Robinson, Swallow, Rutherford, Hayter (Prior, 70min), Fogden