Hawks boss calls for big finish
Lee Bradbury has challenged the Hawks to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season in their bid to lift the Ryman League premier division title.
The Westleigh Park boss is demanding a big finish to the season to avoid having to endure the pressures of the play-offs.
His side took a step towards achieving that with a straightforward 2-0 win at rock-bottom Grays Athletic.
Bradbury was looking for a reaction after a midweek defeat at Harrow Borough dented his side’s prospects.
A dominant first-half provided the fillip both he and the Hawks needed.
‘The target is to remain unbeaten in our last nine games,’ said Bradbury.
‘Losing at Harrow in the way we did hurt the players and they were distraught afterwards.
‘They knew they had been sloppy and not concentrated enough.
‘That made them even hungrier to do well in this game and it showed in the way they played and fought for each other.
‘It was a good, professional performance in difficult circumstances.
‘The pitch was awkward and the blustery wind also made life tough.
‘Grays are a big, strong, physical side who have beaten some top teams recently.
‘If we had not been at it we could easily have come unstuck.’
As in so many of their away performances this season, the Hawks started on the front foot.
And they got their reward after only nine minutes.
A neat move switched the play from left to right – as Wes Fogden and Theo Lewis combined well.
Fogden then fed Rory Williams who finished with a terrific strike across the keeper into the far corner.
On 28 minutes, Fogden was bundled over in the area and Jason Prior buried his spot-kick.
That was virtually game over and the second half was a largely forgettable affair.
‘Our concentration was spot on this time,’ added Bradbury.
‘It was important we didn’t give Grays a sniff.
‘There was a steely determination about us in the second half.
‘This result gives us the go-forward impetus we need at the start of a tough week.’
The Hawks travel to play-off chasing rivals Dulwich Hamlet and Needham Market this week.
A win at Dulwich on Wednesday would return Bradbury’s side to the top of the table.
Bognor maintained their two-point lead on Saturday with a devastating 7-1 victory over Folkestone Invicta at Nyewood Lane.
The Rocks trailed 1-0 at half-time but ran riot in the second period with strikes from James Fraser (two), James Crane (two), Jimmy Wild and Ollie Pearce, alongside an own goal.
Hawks: Young, Woodford, Harris, Robinson, Williams, Stock, Lewis (Carter, 78min), Fogden, Tarbuck, Paterson (Barker, 87min), Prior. Att: 181