Hawks boss rues '˜naive defending'

The Hawks let two precious points slip from their grasp as their National League South relegation tussle with Basingstoke ended 1-1 at the Camrose Ground on Saturday.

Monday, 14th March 2016, 8:00 am
Ben Swallow. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151265-122)

Manager Lee Bradbury regarded it as a missed opportunity to pull away from the bottom three.

A first-half goal from Ben Swallow had put the visitors in pole position to complete a fourth win over their Hampshire rivals this season.

But a lapse in concentration with 20 minutes left allowed the basement side to pull level.

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Bradbury felt it was a game his team should have won.

‘It was two big points thrown away,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘After taking the lead we conceded a simple goal from a long throw.

‘It was naive defending – which was the most disappointing thing.

‘I felt we played well for most of the game and defended well.

‘It was just that one moment when we switched off and got punished. It was a bit harsh on us.’

After Shamir Mullings missed out on a chance in the opening minute, the game was fought out mainly in the midfield.

With so much at stake, both teams were keen not to make the first mistake and defences remained on top.

The home side cracked first, though – right on the stroke of half-time.

Hawks full-back Dan Strugnell did brilliantly to get away down the right and he crossed for Swallow to loop the ball into the far corner with the deftest of flicks.

‘I was really pleased with the way we started and when we sneaked the first goal thought we would hold on,’ said Bradbury.

‘Our goal came from an excellent piece of play with a great finish.

‘With Basingstoke forced to take the game to us, I felt it would increase the opportunities to hit them on the counter-attack. But they pinned us back with long balls into the box and the way we conceded the equaliser was disappointing.

‘We went through defending long throws at training – making sure we had front screen.

‘They just threw straight over it and their lad flicked the ball over his shoulder into our net.

‘Apart from their goal, I felt we defended well.

‘Our two central defenders were phenomenal.

‘We have enough experience in the team to make sure we get in the right positions.

‘But our tendency to lose concentration at times is why we are where we are in the league.’

The draw left the Hawks precariously placed one point above the drop zone.

Weston-super-Mare are one place below, however, they have two games in hand on the Hawks.

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Medway, Stock, Haran, Hill, Swallow, Donnelly (Lewis, 69min), Mullings, Ciardini, Mitchell (Molyneaux, 85min). Att: 523