Bradbury admits big changes needed at the Hawks after embarrassing FA Cup performance

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Neil Marshall
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Neil Marshall

Lee Bradbury admitted big changes are needed at the Hawks after their shock FA Cup fourth-qualifying round defeat to Metropolitan Police.

The Westleigh Park boss feels the club either need to go full-time or bring in new recruits if they’re to avoid relegation from the National League this season. 

The Hawks went out with a whimper against a Met Police side who play two levels below them in Southern League premier division south. 

It was a hugely frustrating and disappointing performance as Jack Mazzone’s first-half strike dumped the visitors out of the historic competition. 

The Hawks’ misery was completed when Andreas Robinson was sent off in the 75th minute for a second bookable offence.

Bradbury recognises the missed opportunity can have significant implications for the rest of the season.

Not only did the club miss out on the £25,000 prize money but also the opportunity to bolster the Westleigh Park coffers in the first-round proper. 

The result piled further misery on the Hawks. They sit in the National League relegation zone and are winless in eight matches.

Bradbury wants to meet with the Westleigh Park board to discuss how the club can remedy their troubles on the field. 

The boss said: ‘In cup games it is about desire, work-rate and teams wanting to do that extra bit.

‘Met Police showed that and we didn't.

‘They were better as a team while we played more like individuals.

‘Financially this is a massively costly defeat and we have missed out on winning a decent amount of money.

‘I am just so disappointed with the performance.

‘We need to act and I will have to speak to the board.

‘Either we need to go full-time to make a difference with the players we have got or we need to bring in better players.'

The first half was dreadful from the Hawks’ point of view.

They could hardly string two passes together, were second to every ball and lacked cohesion up front.

In contrast, Met Police were busy, got in the visitors’ faces and looked up for it.

It was no surprise when Bradbury’s troops fell behind to a stunning strike on the half-hour.

When the Hawks only half-cleared an attack, Mazzone swivelled on a bouncing ball just outside the area and sent an unstoppable volley into the bottom corner of the net.

Although there was a slight improvement after half-time from the Hawks, the home side defended well to keep a clean sheet and move into Monday night’s first-round draw.

Bradbury told his players they should be embarrassed by their display.

The boss added: ‘I told the players they should be embarrassed by their performance.

‘The most disappointing aspect was our lack of application.

‘To say that I am spitting nails is an understatement.

‘We didn't start well, we were outworked, outmuscled and outran by a team two leagues below us.

‘We should be coming here and winning and I can't hide from that fact.

‘It has put a few questions into my head regarding some of these players.

‘They now have to take a long hard look at themselves.’