Bradbury hopes boosted by perfect ‘pick-me-up’

Eddie Hutchinson marked his recall to the Hawks' starting line-up with their opening goal at Boreham Wood Picture: Dave Haines
Eddie Hutchinson marked his recall to the Hawks' starting line-up with their opening goal at Boreham Wood Picture: Dave Haines
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Lee Bradbury praised the efforts of his Hawks players as they refused to give up on their chances of sneaking into the Blue Square Bet South play-offs.

Goals either side of half-time from Eddie Hutchinson and Juan Cruz Gotta earned the Westleigh Park side a valuable 2-1 win at Boreham Wood last night.

The victory allowed the Hawks to quickly forget about Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Maidenhead, which seemed to have scuppered the team’s hopes of finishing in the top five.

But with Bradbury keen for his side to bounce straight back and produce a grandstand finish to their season, he wasn’t let down as his players answered his rally call.

Last night’s victory leaves the Hawks seven points adrift of fifth-placed Chelmsford City, with three games remaining.

A top-five finish remains a tall order, but Bradbury is refusing to give up.

‘We played well and it was a terrific reaction from my players after losing our last game,’ said Bradbury.

‘Our work-rate was fantastic and it had to be because Boreham Wood is a difficult place to come and get a result.

‘We won’t give anything up and certainly don’t intend to let our season peter out.

‘The aim is to win all our remaining games and see where it takes us.

‘This win has got the lads’ tails up again. It was just the pick-me-up we needed.’

The visitors couldn’t have wished for a better start in their bid to return to winning ways.

Within two minutes, Steve Ramsey drove a terrific free-kick into the area which enabled the recalled Hutchinson to race in and head home.

The Hawks continued to take the game to their hosts but missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark when Ollie Palmer was brought down inside the area.

The league’s top scorer dusted himself down to take the spot-kick, only to have his effort well saved by home keeper.

But Palmer almost made amends just before the interval when his header from a Chris Arthur cross bounced off the inside of the far post.

The first chance of the second period fell to the hosts but an unmarked Luke Garrad fired over the top.

The Hawks were now finding themselves coming under increased pressure, with Gotta and Kelvin Bossman picking up bookings.

And with the game becoming increasingly physical, Arthur did well to force a save with a shot on the turn.

Bradbury made his first change on 64 minutes, sending on Sahr Kabba in place of Bossman.

Palmer’s penalty miss then looked costly in the 70th minute when the home side levelled the scores.

Cliff Akurang got into the penalty area and clipped the ball over Hawks keeper Clark Masters as the keeper dived at his feet.

But in a dramatic finish, the home side crashed a penalty against a post, before Gotta stuck with an 87th-minute winner.

Substitute Nanetti headed a corner towards the far post, where Gotta crowned a superb debut by heading in from six yards.

Hawks: Masters, Grant, Newton, Hutchinson, Harris, Cruz Gotta, Ramsey, Ryan, Palmer, Bossman, Arthur. Subs: Nanetti, Kabba, Strugnell, Monteiro, Weekes.

Referee: L Betts