Ex-Portsmouth skipper will be crucial to Havant & Waterlooville’s survival bid 

Paul Robinson. Picture: Neil Marshall (180905-421)
Paul Robinson. Picture: Neil Marshall (180905-421)

Paul Robinson’s performance at Chesterfield showed just how important he is to the Hawks’ National League survival bid. 

The experienced defender marshalled Lee Bradbury's defence superbly as they came under intense pressure at the ProAct Stadium last weekend. 

In the opening hour the visitors frustrated the Spireites, forcing them to change their tactics.

Martin Allen made a triple substitution to try to engineer a breakthrough.

The Chesterfield boss introduced target men Tom Denton and Hanani Amantchi.

Sam Muggleton was also brought on, who provided ammunition to the pair with his long throw-ins.

The former Gillingham man was capable of landing the ball on the penalty spot from his set-pieces. 

It was a massive test of the Hawks’ resilience and, largely down to the leadership of Robinson, they returned to Westleigh Park with a goalless draw.

Visiting keeper Ben Dudzinski also made several top-drawer saves when the Spireites did manage to get through Bradbury’s rearguard. 

The Hawks boss rated his side’s performance as the best of the season. 

And he recognised the influence Robinson had to earn the away team a point.

‘Paul was fantastic and is a good old-school defender,' said Bradbury.

‘There is nothing more he likes better than a good battle and scrap.

‘He enjoys that side of the game and you could see his eyes light up when they brought on their two giants.

‘As an aggressive defender he helped hold us together very well.

‘He marshalled the defence superbly and you could see why he has been highly-regarded at Millwall, Portsmouth and AFC Wimbledon.

‘Paul is a winner and if we are going to stay at this level we are going to need that.’

Robinson was partnered by Tyler Cordner in central defence at the ProAct Stadium.

The AFC Bournemouth loanee has bundles of ability when he’s on the ball.

And Bradbury believes playing alongside Robinson will improve Cordner’s game.

The Hawks boss added: ‘Youngster Tyler Cordner is learning so much playing alongside him.

‘He has fantastic ability on the ball and now needs a bit of Paul Robinson in his defending to take him forward to the next level.

‘That is why Tyler is with us and his experience with us will only help.'

The point at Chesterfield kept the Hawks out of the bottom four on goal difference.

It was a long day for all concerned, with Bradbury’s troops setting off from Westleigh Park at 7.30am. 

Fortunately the trip was traffic free and the coach made good time both there and back.

The Hawks are back on the road again this week with trips to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday before travelling to second-placed Salford City on Saturday. 

Bradbury’s side will journey up to Greater Manchester on Friday for the latter. 

Both games will fully test the Hawks’ resilience away from home.

The Daggers started this weekend level on points with the Hawks and below them on goal difference.

Title-chasing Salford will be even tougher, although the Hawks earned a well-deserved 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at Westleigh Park in August.