Bradbury sticks by his Hawks blueprint

Ben Wright is in good scoring form. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘All or nothing’ as Gosport get set for Dunstable trip

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Lee Bradbury continued to shrug off pre-season results after a 3-0 defeat to Football League newcomers Newport County at Westleigh Park.

The Hawks have now played four games against higher-level opposition – suffering defeats to Wycombe and Pompey and drawing with Salisbury City, courtesy of a header from Ryan Woodford.

Newport looked the most accomplished side of the lot on Saturday and the home side struggled to make any impact with the ball.

But despite the results, boss Bradbury remains happy with what he has seen from his squad.

He has underlined the need for a test of fitness in the opening matches of pre-season and will now look to hone his side’s attacking play in games with the likes of Fareham and Bognor.

‘The plan was to start with four tough games at home to get my players working hard off the ball,’ said the former Pompey striker.

‘It is designed to get fitness levels up and, in that respect, things have gone to plan. Overall, it has been a good exercise.

‘Against Newport we were up against a very good, experienced side full of confidence after their promotion.

‘Their formation caused us a few problems and we didn’t create too many chances.

‘They were well organised but we stuck at it, playing to our strengths and trying to nullify theirs.’

Attacking incidents in the opening half were few and far between.

The visitors stretched the Hawks at times with sweeping counter-attacks down the flanks.

And the Hawks’ best chance came on 19 minutes when triallist Serge Makofo fired wide of the upright from an Ollie Palmer cross.

The Welsh side eventually took the lead on 34 minutes when the unmarked Lee Minshull guided home a header from a David Pipe cross.

Newport dominated the second half but needed a bad blunder from Hawks new goalkeeper Scott Bevan to extend their lead.

With 59 minutes gone, Andy Seandell knocked in a harmless cross from the left touchline.

It should have been a regulation catch for the 6ft 7in keeper, but Bevan only succeeded in dropping the ball behind him and into his own net. The former Bristol Rovers man, who has been out of the game for 12 months with a wrist injury, will no doubt have been glad to get that out of his system before the start of the season.

There was little any goalkeeper could have done about Newport’s third goal nine minutes from time.

Full-back Pipe picked up a loose ball 30 yards out and arrowed a magnificent drive into the top corner of the net, leaving Bevan grasping at thin air.

‘We can now look forward to a few easier games with the likes of Fareham, Bognor and Bashley,’ said Bradbury.

‘In the last few games we have had to work hard off the ball. Now we should get the chance to do a bit more going the other way.

‘That is the plan, now we have to see if it works.’

One area of concern for the Hawks boss may be in midfield, where Steve Ramsey could be out for up to six weeks with a fractured toe.

With Perry Ryan suspended for the first two Conference South games, Bradbury may have to draft someone in to increase his options.

HAWKS: Bevan; Newton, Blanchett, Hutchinson (Wedlake, 82 mins), Woodford (Monteiro, 60 mins), Harris (Strugnell, 60 mins), Nanetti (Przespolewski, 72 mins), Ryan, Palmer (Kabba, 60 mins), Ciardini, Makofo (Jones, 45 mins). Sub not used: Searle

Att: 312