Bradbury: It’s not all Dover for us

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Lee Bradbury insists the Hawks remain in the Skrill South play-off race – despite a 4-3 defeat to Dover Athletic at Westleigh Park last night.

Scott Donnelly had fired the home side into a first-half lead before goals from Dan Strugnell and Nic Ciardini were required to wipe out a 3-1 deficit.

But their efforts were in vain as a breathtaking second-half ended with Dover snatching the win with eight minutes to go.

Victory for the Kent visitors, who sit in the fourth play-off spot, stretched their advantage over the ninth-placed Hawks to nine points.

However, Bradbury’s side still have four games in hand – more on the likes of Bath, Ebbsfleet and Weston-super-Mare who are also in the mix.

The defeat merely puts more emphasis on the next few games – beginning with the trip to the Camrose to take on Basingstoke Town tomorrow (3pm).

Hawks boss Bradbury said: ‘We showed a lot of positives – fighting back right until the end.

‘And when we got back to 3-3 we looked on course for at least a point.

‘Even then we could have gone on and won it but they shook us with the fourth goal.

‘We gave them a couple of sloppy goals which is uncharacteristic for us.

‘We might be nine points behind now but we are still in the mix. We just have to keep going.

‘Tomorrow and Monday are now more important because if we get results in those games we are right in it.

‘We have 14 games left to play, which is a few more than anyone else, so we must be in with a chance.’

Bradbury was forced to make one change to the side that beat Ebbsfleet on Monday night – on-loan Aldershot striker Matt Paterson coming in for the injured Dennis Oli.

Both sides took their time to settle, with Dover’s Moses Ademola coming closest in the early skirmishes when he shot high and wide from long range.

Ademola and James Rogers had tested Hawks keeper Benji Buchel before Christian Nanetti shot over at the other end.

Paterson and Ciardini were both close to getting on the end of a teasing Nanetti cross.

But the breakthrough finally came for the Hawks when Ciardini swept in a low centre that Donnelly blasted home.

Buchel still had time to pull off a superb stop from Ademola before the game exploded in the second period.

The Hawks keeper failed to deal with a cross on 48 minutes – leaving Jeff Goulding to level.

Dover’s Tom Murphy had a goal ruled out for offside before stabbing a second past Buchel and then making it three with a powerful cross-shot.

Paterson was twice denied prior to Strugnell thumping in the Hawks’ second from the edge of the box.

And when Ciardini equalised the Hawks were set to salvage a point.

That was until Liam Bellamy finished in style on 82 minutes to wrap up the points.

DOVER ATHLETIC: Walker, Stone, Wynter, Kinnear, Orlu, Forbes, Ademola, Rogers, Goulding, Cogan, Murphy. Subs: Modeste, Bellamy, Kamara, Elder, Charles

HAWKS: Buchel, Strugnell, Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Monteiro, Nanetti, Atangana, Paterson, Donnelly, Ciardini. Subs: Kabba, Bassele, Hutchinson, Przespolewski, Cummings