Hawks boss delighted as positive move pays off
Lee Bradbury was rewarded for his positive approach as the Hawks claimed a welcome 2-0 win over Dartford at Westleigh Park on Saturday.
In the absence of the suspended Shamir Mullings, the boss went with two strikers – recalling Matt Paterson and James Hayter.
And the latter scored both goals in the National League South success, which left the Hawks three points clear of the relegation zone.
With wide men Ben Swallow and new signing George Barker providing the service from the flanks, the home side possessed a far greater attacking threat.
The Hawks’ other new arrival Andy Robinson, who like Barker had made the move from crisis-club Gosport Borough, also had a solid debut at the back as the sixth-placed visitors were well beaten.
‘We went 4-4-2 with two out-and-out wingers and we reaped the benefits of having attack-minded players on the pitch,’ said Bradbury.
‘If you didn’t know which team was where in the league, you would have thought it was the other way around.
‘I thought we were great and dominated the game.
‘We were hardworking, positive and good on the ball. In the end we could have scored a couple more.
‘The first goal was always important and James Hayter did what he has done throughout his whole career. He takes up good positions when the ball is wide and knows where the goal is.
‘Although he is only five foot nine, he has excellent timing in the air and can generate good power.
‘He and Pato worked well together, which gives me a good problem to with Shamir becoming available again.’
The Hawks went about their task with gusto from the first whistle.
Dartford looked far from convincing at the back as the hosts did the bulk of the attacking.
Only once did they look like getting caught out and then goalkeeper Ryan Young came to their rescue with a fabulous one-handed save.
The breakthrough arrived in the 52nd minute when Hayter finished off a good passing move with a header from Dan Strugnell’s cross.
The former AFC Bournemouth man then sealed the win on 75 minutes after Paterson knocked the ball back into the danger area.
Bradbury added: ‘The most pleasing aspect is the clean sheet and the work ethic from front to back. There is no doubt, with the players we have got, we can cause opponents problems.
‘We were rock solid at the back and Dartford didn’t cause us many problems.
‘Both our debut-making players were impressive.
‘All we need is another eight performances like this – maintaining our standards and consistency – and we will be fine.’
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Hill, Robinson, Medway, Stock, Donnelly (Mitchell, 83min), Barker, Swallow (Ciardini, 85min), Hayter (Lewis, 83min), Paterson. Att: 661