Bradbury delighted by hard-working Hawks

Ollie Palmer netted a hat-trick. Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Palmer netted a hat-trick. Picture: Dave Haines
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Lee Bradbury lauded the Hawks’ work ethic in their Blue Square Bet South triumph over AFC Hornchurch and insisted: You deserved that.

Ollie Palmer grabbed a hat-trick as the home side powered to a 5-2 win at Westleigh Park.

The hitman, who is yet again being tracked by Football League clubs, hit the target once in the first half and then twice in the final four minutes to take his tally to 14 for the season.

But while the powerful striker may have carried off the match ball, boss Bradbury reckons it was the work-rate of the Hawks that laid the foundations for the success.

Their pace and power then tore the Essex visitors – who despite two late goals were never in contention – to shreds.

A delighted Bradbury said: ‘I was really pleased and felt that everything came together.

‘We won it convincingly in the end and were worthy winners.

‘The lads got what they deserved because they worked hard for each other and reaped the benefits. With both teams coming into the game on the back of defeats we knew it was important to get off to a good start.

‘We thought they might be a bit fragile and aimed to get at them with the power and pace in our side.

‘That proved to be the winning formula.

‘We have some quick powerful lads in our squad and when they are at it they can prove a handful for anybody.’

The Hawks set about the Urchins from the start and by half-time they had the game virtually won after establishing a 3-0 lead.

Dan Strugnell opened the Hawks’ account on 15 minutes.

The impressive AFC Bournemouth loanee netted with a looping header from a Chris Arthur free-kick.

It was the centre-back’s second in as many games and put his side into a deserved lead.

Kabba’s pace and composed finish brought a second goal on 28 minutes before Palmer produced an equally cool finish on the stroke of half-time.

Palmer missed the easiest chance of the game two minutes into the second half – firing over an open goal from six yards.

But it mattered little in the final reckoning as the home side coasted through much of the second period before a grandstand finale had the fans on the edge of their seats.

With 11 minutes left, Ed Harris deflected a shot into his own net to give the Urchins a glimmer of hope.

That hope was immediately extinguished, though, as Palmer fired his second home via a deflection.

Wayne Gray then nodded home a second for the visitors as the game swing from end to end. And, in the final minute, Palmer knocked in the rebound after the Urchins’ keeper saved a Christian Nanetti free-kick at the foot of his post.

Palmer went away with the match ball, while Bradbury reserved praise for young defender Strugnell.

‘Dan was a real rock for us,’ said the boss.

‘He won every header and was calm on the ball – making good decisions.

‘He is only 20 years old but he has an old head on young shoulders.

‘I gave him his debut when I was manager at Bournemouth and know what he is capable of.

‘He’s calm and collected and looked like he’d been playing alongside Ed Harris for years.

‘I think the lad has a good career ahead of him.’

The win takes the Hawks up to 12th place – just seven points adrift of Weston-super-Mare in the play-off zone.

Hawks: Masters 7, Newton 7, Butler 8, Hutchinson 7

(Ramsey, 67mins), Harris 7, Strugnell 9, Nanetti 8, Ryan 7, Palmer 9,

Kabba 8 (Jones 7, 58mins), Arthur 8 (Whyte, 67mins). Att: 641