Hawks hit top spot as Rutherford steals show

Hawks striker Alfie Rutherford   Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Hawks striker Alfie Rutherford Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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The Hawks shrugged off the absence of leading goalscorer Jason Prior to beat Staines Town 4-1 at Wheatsheaf Park and return to the top of the Ryman League premier division.

With Prior suspended it was his fellow striker Alfie Rutherford who stole the show.

The youngster scored early in both halves to set the Hawks on their way to an impressive win with Theo Lewis and George Barker adding further goals.

For much of this season the Portsmouth-based teenager has played second fiddle behind Prior and Matt Paterson.

Now he is making a case that surely makes it difficult for manager Lee Bradbury to leave him out.

Rutherford is averaging a goal a game in his eight league and FA Trophy starts after scoring 22 goals at Bognor last season.

Bradbury was full of praise for his young hit-man.

‘I challenged Alfie to make it difficult for me to leave him out of the team and he is certainly doing that,’ he said.

‘His goals for games ratio speaks for itself.

‘He is quickly becoming a permanent fixture in the side and always possesses the belief that he will score.

‘Even if he misses a few chances he doesn’t let that affect his confidence.

‘The beauty of it is he can score all sorts of goals; tap-ins, from distance and pressurising defenders to make mistakes.

‘The only thing he needs to add now is to score goals with his head.

‘At only 18 years of age he is also quick,very enthusiastic and possesses great hunger and desire.

‘He is lucky to have experienced players alongside him and because of that he is learning quickly.’

Rutherford struck inside the opening three minutes when he took full advantage of a mix-up in the home defence.

As confusion reigned between the home goalkeeper and one of the defenders, the youngster kept his cool to slide the ball into the net.

The visitors remained in charge but failed to take further chances before half-time.

Rutherford struck for a second time in the 52nd minute, scoring with an audacious lob over the advancing goalkeeper.

Lewis killed off any hopes of a home fightback when he headed in from eight yards in the 66th minute.

On 78 minutes, substitute Barker added a fourth goal with virtually his first touch.

Staines grabbed a consolation three minutes from time with their first shot on target.

‘After taking an early lead we were in control for most of the game,’ added Bradbury.

‘I don’t think our goalkeeper had a save to make all game until they scored.

‘This time last season I don’t think we had won a single away game.

‘Now we are unbeaten on the road since our opening game.

‘I put that down to the attitude of the players we have this season.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Stock, Molyneaux, Harris, Fogden (Barker 66), Robinson, Rutherford (Tarbuck 87), Hayter (Paterson 67), Lewis