Hawks defeat Seagulls and rain to stay top

Rory Williams brings the ball forward during today's Hawks v Weston-super-Mare game at Westleigh Park Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Rory Williams brings the ball forward during today's Hawks v Weston-super-Mare game at Westleigh Park Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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Lee Bradbury heaped praise on the Hawks players and ground staff as his side maintained their two-point lead at the top of the National League South table.

Both came good for yesterday’s visit of Weston-super-Mare to Westleigh Park.

The ground staff got the pitch playable despite constant rain before and during the game.

Meanwhile, Bradbury’s troops stood up to the challenging conditions to secure a 2-0 win thanks to second-half goals from Wes Fogden and Jason Prior.

The three points keep the Hawks clear of second-placed Dartford, who enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Bradbury said: ‘All the hard work by the ground staff and volunteers paid off in the end.

‘The pitch was playable at the start, but with the continuous rain it was awful at the end.

‘It is what it is and the same for both teams, though.

‘The goal at the start of the second half kick-started the game.

‘After that our wing backs got on the ball more and our second goal came from that.

‘It was a characteristic, gutsy, hard-working performance.

‘We showed good stamina and excellent fitness levels on and off the ball.

‘Not many teams have out-worked us this season if any. That is something we pride ourselves in.

‘A team that is going to be a successful one has to be able to adapt to different playing conditions.

‘We showed that we can do that quite well. It is another three points and another box ticked.’

The Hawks made one change to their starting line-up, with Matt Tubbs replacing Andreas Robinson.

The covers on a section of the pitch in front of the grandstand were only removed 45 minutes before kick-off.

And right from the start it was obvious that conditions underfoot would make it tricky for both teams.

That was certainly the case, with a slip by home defender Ryan Woodford almost letting the Seagulls in.

Then, when Rory Williams looked to burst forward, his progress was halted when the ball got stuck in the mud.

The game burst into life a minute into the second half, with the Hawks seizing the initiative.

Williams crossed from the left and Prior sent a header bouncing down off the underside of the crossbar.

Fogden then quickly nipped in to head the ball into the net.

Prior almost added a second goal with a deft shot that hit the bar.

But on 62 minutes the striker made no mistake when guiding home his header from Dan Strugnell’s cross.

Late on, Tubbs had a shot scrambled off the line before the whistle sounded on a welcome three points.

Hawks: Young, Williams, Woodford, Harris, Fogden, Lewis, Prior, Tubbs, Tarbuck, Carter, Rose. Subs: Rutherford, Dudzinski, Strugnell, Robinson, Hayter.