Hawks are Worthy winners as they take top spot

Hawks attacker George Barker    Picture: Mick Young
Hawks attacker George Barker Picture: Mick Young
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Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

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The Hawks moved back to the top of the Ryman League Premier division tonight with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Worthing.

After a goalless first half, goals from George Barker and Alfie Rutherford put the visitors in charge.

Worthing soon reduced the arrears but the Hawks remained strong at the back to claim maximum points.

Boss Lee Bradbury watched on from the stand – serving a one-match suspension for his sending off at Ebbsfleet United earlier in the season – and was proud of his side’s second-half showing.

He said: ‘Overall it is very pleasing to get the win which takes us back to the top.

‘In the first half I thought we were not at it and Worthing were brighter and sharper than us.

‘It was difficult for me watching from the stand.

‘We made a few adjustments, though, and in the second half were a lot better.

‘We created more chances and scored a couple of good goals.

‘When Worthing pushed us at the end we defended very well, with our goalkeeper, Ryan Young, commanding his area.

‘This is not an easy place to come and we did well to grind out an important result.

‘The lads showed a lot of character.’

The visitors, who saw Brian Stock injured in the warm-up, suffered an early blow when Wes Fogden limped off to be replaced by Ben Swallow.

On 23 minutes, Andreas Robinson did well to bundle through two tackles before curling a shot past the post.

Lloyd Dawes then thought he had put Worthing ahead but his effort was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper.

The home side should have taken the lead on 37 minutes but with just Young to beat Bugiel poked the ball straight at the keeper.

Jason Prior then sent a header wide of the far post from a Swallow cross early in the second period.

Young had to be quick to gather a Dawes header from a free-kick as the home forwards closed in.

The Hawks made the breakthrough in the 61st minute when a deep ball to the far post found Barker unmarked.

He composed himself before drilling a right-foot shot past Jack Fagan in the home goal.

Almost immediately, Young produced an excellent low one-handed save to prevent Dawes from equalising.

The visitors tightened their grip on the game with a second goal six minutes later.

Barker fed Rutherford who worked a good position across the face of the area before hammering home an unstoppable low shot.

On 70 minutes, the home side reduced the arrears with Bugiel bursting through to lash his shot past Young.

The Hawks came under increasing pressure in the closing stages but defended well to keep the hosts at bay.