Betis hand out Real education on Hawks’ historic night

Ruben Castro completes his hat-trick
Ruben Castro completes his hat-trick
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The Hawks were handed a footballing lesson by Spanish maestros Real Betis on a historic evening for the club.

The newly-promoted La Liga side battered Shaun Gale’s side 7-0 at West Leigh Park.

Betis delivered a masterclass in passing and movement in what proved a real learning experience for their opponents.

It was a landmark night for Hawks, as they met the Spanish outfit when Pompey couldn’t fulfil the fixture after being left stranded in America on their pre-season tour.

But if it wasn’t for the brilliance of keeper Nathan Ashmore, the scoreline could have been comfortably in double figures. It inevitably proved a one-sided affair on a glorious evening, with four Betis goals in the opening 15 minutes telling its own story.

The mercurial Ruben Castro helped himself to a hat-trick, with Jorge Molina getting the other goal.

Molina then added a fifth two minutes before the break, after the Hawks had found their feet following a switch to a 4-4-2 formation, with new-boy Lee Peacock moving up front after starting in a holding midfield role.

It was textbook stuff from the visitors as their quality and confidence echoed the football played by the Spanish national side.

Betis could afford to make wholesale changes at the break, with 10 new faces coming into the equation.

Jonathan Pereira kept the goals flowing with a neat left-foot finish nine minutes after the restart.

A familiar face entered the fray for the hosts after the break as Mustafa Tiryaki came on, with the player re-appearing for the club following trials at Tranmere and Scunthorpe.

His future is not yet decided but he played a part in the Hawks getting a foothold in the game late on.

He first squared for Peacock with 16 minutes left but the ex-Grimsby man couldn’t force the ball home.

Tiryaki was then superbly denied by Inaki Goitia, who made a brilliant double stop with eight minutes left.

Betis added a seventh at the death from the penalty spot when Salva converted after ex-Pompey man Perry Ryan pulled down Alejandro Pozuelo.

The Hawks know they got a really tough 90 minutes under their belts in readiness for the new campaign.

And they could console themselves with the fact they aren’t going to come up against the kind of fluidity produced by Betis when the Blue Square South season gets under way at Boreham Wood.