Scott Bevan is delighted his Hawks gamble has paid off.
The keeper broke his hand in his pre-match warm-up ahead of the Skrill South clash with Bishop’s Stortford in September and subsequently was ruled out for a spell early in the season.
But despite not being fully fit, boss Lee Bradbury chose to call on his shot-stopper again for the visit to Maidenhead on October 5 – after his side’s early exit from the FA Cup and a loss of form in the league.
Since then, captain Bevan’s presence has been warmly received, with the Hawks winning their past three games.
Their latest win – the 4-1 triumph over Basingstoke on Saturday – showed the Southampton-based custodian is back to his best.
As a result, he’s glad Bradbury took the decision to bring him back when he did.
‘It’s fantastic to be back so soon,’ said Bevan.
‘If anyone had told me that I would make such a quick recovery five weeks ago I would have thought them mad.
‘The gaffer showed a lot of faith in me and it was good to repay that with a win.
‘I just love playing football.
‘I had a serious injury at Bristol Rovers 15 months ago and never thought I would play again.
‘So it’s great to get the opportunity to continue my career with the Hawks.’
Against Basingstoke, summer signing Bevan used his physical presence to command his area and marshalled his backline well.
He also took the chance to showcase some of his footballing skills with a little bit of showboating in the second half.
With ex-Hawk Manny Williams chasing him down, Bevan shaped to kick before cleverly taking the ball around the striker and hoofing clear.
He added it was agonising to watch on as he waited on his comeback.
‘While I was out, it was frustrating to watch the team struggle,’ said Bevan.
‘During that spell I think we were a little naive in both penalty areas.
‘We weren’t clearing our lines well enough and failed to take our chances.
‘The lads showed a lot of character to win at Maidenhead because they got in our faces early on.
‘The gaffer had told us we had to start doing our talking on the pitch and the lads responded well.’
Bevan began his career with Southampton, earning a professional contract in 1997.
Although he didn’t make any senior appearances, he gained league experience at Huddersfield and Milton Keynes.
He later played 89 games for Torquay United and made a further 42 league appearances during a two-year spell at Bristol Rovers.
And in his short time at Westleigh Park, the ‘gentle giant’ has quickly become a favourite at the club.
He believes the team can push on to higher things.
‘We have a good blend of experience and youngsters who have the potential to move on and play at a higher level,’ said Bevan.