Bradbury hails Hawks effort as Trophy dream ends

Ben Swallow. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151265-122)
Ben Swallow. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151265-122)
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Lee Bradbury praised the Hawks for their brave effort before exiting the FA Trophy 3-0 against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.

The final scoreline was harsh on the south coast visitors, who matched their National League hosts for the first 72 minutes.

But once Jon-Paul Pittman broke the deadlock, the Hawks were left chasing the game and that left them open at the back.

The home side’s two late goals were cruel on the visitors.

Bradbury, however, felt his team gave a good account of themselves.

‘I was pleased with the performance for the first 70 minutes,’ said the boss.

‘We were disciplined and hard working as we had to be.

‘Up until half-time we frustrated them and it was pleasing to go in 0-0 at the break.

‘They changed it around at half-time and gave us a few problems.

‘Ultimately once we went 1-0 down we were chasing the game and they scored two more goals to finish us off.

‘Despite the result, I was pleased with the application we showed.’

The last time the Hawks visited Grimsby, the hosts won 4-1 – killing the tie off early with three goals in the opening half-hour.

In a bid to make sure that didn’t happen again, Bradbury went with a 4-5-1 formation which worked in frustrating the hosts – particularly in the first half.

The blustery wind swirling around the ground made life difficult for both teams.

Ben Swallow forced an early save from home keeper James McKeown in a positive start by the Hawks.

Pittman and Omar Bogle shot wide for Grimsby in the first half.

After the break, the Mariners upped their tempo and the Hawks found themselves having to absorb more and more pressure.

That pressure finally told on 72 minutes when Pittman picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Hawks area and crashed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

It was all over 10 minutes later when Jon Nolan arrowed a low, angled drive past Ryan Young.

A stretching Swallow then diverted the ball into his own net to complete the Hawks’ misery in stoppage-time.

‘The final score flattered Grimsby,’ said Bradbury.

‘Their opening goal was their first shot on target. We also felt we should have had a penalty in the first half for handball but the referee was unsighted.

‘All I ever ask from my players is 100-per-cent commitment and I got it.

‘It is important we maintain the same amount of application in the league in a bid to push up the table.

‘If we do that then we have more than enough quality in the squad to achieve that.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Whatmough, Hill, Cummings, Swallow, Stock, Ciardini, Lewis (Hayter, 76min), Donnelly, Mullings (Paterson, 76min). Att: 1,613