The Hawks’ hopes of ending their pre-season unbeaten were dashed by National League Dover Athletic who cruised to a 3-0 win at Westleigh Park.
It was a reality check for manager Lee Bradbury who had seen his team win five and draw two of their previous friendly games.
We gifted them all three goals and it was a difficult day for usLee Bradbury
After losing central defender Ed Harris to injury in midweek, Bradbury admitted he was using the game to look at his defensive options.
He will have been horrified by what he saw.
‘We gifted them all three goals to be honest and it was a difficult day for us,’ said Bradbury.
‘The rest of pre-season has been good so this comes as a bit of a reality check for the team.
‘Defensively, the performance was concerning.
‘We definitely have to defend better than that and make better decisions as a team.
‘It was one of those days when we gave them the first goal and it went downhill from that.
‘The first goal took the wind out of our sails a bit and we have to show more character than that.
‘There will be times when we go behind and when that happens we will need to display greater resilience.’
Dover struck in the sixth minute when the static Hawks defence were caught out by a long ball over the top.
Tom Murphy raced through and easily lobbed the ball over the stranded keeper Ryan Young to find the back of the net in style.
The Hawks’ central defensive partnership of Brian Dutton and Lee Molyneaux looked hesitant and were exposed for pace.
And on 22 minutes the visitors were then gifted a second goal as they took complete charge of the friendly contest.
Dutton’s poor pass across his own area to Dan Strugnell was picked off by Stefan Payne who went on to poke the ball past Young and into the net.
That was game over as far as the Hawks were concerned.
And Dover sealed the win with a third goal seven minutes from time to add gloss to their victory.
Molyneaux cut out a cross from the left but his clearance fell straight to Nic Deverdics who finished well from just outside the area to pile the misery on the Hawks.
Up front Matt Paterson was the pick of the Hawks forwards, working hard all afternoon to try and make something happen.
Bradbury felt his performance was a positive.
He said: ‘Matt Paterson created the best of our chances and forced a couple of good saves from the goalkeeper,’ said Bradbury.
‘He worked hard and has looked sharp all pre-season.’
Bradbury’s main concern, a week before starting their National League South campaign at Bishop’s Stortford though, is with his defence.
Losing Harris is a major blow and Bradbury wants to sign reinforcements.
One option might be Manny Monthe who appeared in the second half as a triallist from Queens Park Rangers.
‘He has got the pace and power to be effective but we need to sort out his situation with regards to his availability,’ said Bradbury.
Hawks: Young, Strugnell (Medway), Cummings (Blanchett), Stock, Dutton (Monthe, 45), Molyneaux, Clifton, Donnelly, Paterson, Morgan (Hayter), Ciardini (Swallow, 45).