Bradbury: Hawks are enjoying the title pressure

Jason Prior celebrates his stunning match-winner. Picture: Vernon Nash (180377-008)
Jason Prior celebrates his stunning match-winner. Picture: Vernon Nash (180377-008)
Hawks assistant boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Lee Bradbury insists his Hawks are enjoying the pressure of the National League South title race.

The Westleigh Park side underlined their promotion pedigree with a confident 2-1 home win over St Albans City on Saturday.

They are neck-and-neck with Dartford at the top – second only by a single strike on goal difference.

The leaders won 1-0 at Eastbourne Borough, while the Hawks failed to take advantage of a hatful of opportunities in their narrow success.

Bradbury, however, was impressed with his players – and their willingness to take the attack to their opponents.

‘I thought we played well right from the start,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘We were unfortunate not to take the lead in the opening 10 minutes.

‘The missed chances came back to bite us when St Albans scored.

‘But we didn’t let that affect us and we kept our concentration and belief.

‘You could see from the beginning that the players are prepared to give it everything they have got.

‘In the position we are in, we have to go for it.

‘The players have got themselves where they are because they thrive on the pressure and are enjoying it.’

The visitors included Bradbury’s son – Harvey – in their starting line-up but the 19-year-old made little impact against his father’s team.

After falling behind against the run of play, the Hawks hit back with goals from Wes Fogden and Jason Prior – the latter a contender for goal of the season.

Fogden, Bradley Tarbuck, Prior and Matt Tubbs had all missed good early chances.

The equaliser came when a cross by Rory Williams was only half-cleared and Fogden hooked the ball in.

Prior then put the Hawks in front with an unbelievable strike.

The striker received the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal before turning and arrowing a shot into the top corner.

‘It was a fantastic strike on the half-turn right into the top corner,’ added former Pompey striker Bradbury.

The Hawks had chances to extend their lead in the second half before comfortably seeing the game out for the three points.

‘Now we have to go out and win three more games.’ said Bradbury.

HAWKS: Young, Rose, Woodford, Harris (Stock, 53min), Williams, Lewis, Fogden, Tarbuck, Robinson, Prior, Tubbs (Hayter, 67min). Att: 1,051

n Bognor had relegation confirmed by their 3-2 defeat against Hemel Hempstead Town at Nyewood Lane.

A late fightback proved in vain for the Rocks after they shipped two goals in the opening 14 minutes.

The Tudors added a third goal on 71 minutes before the late resurgence by the home side.

Ollie Pearce reduced the deficit with a far-post tap-in.

Pearce netted again in the last minute but it proved too little, too late for Bognor.