Ciardini helps Hawks sink former club

Nic Ciardini. Picture: Dave Haines
Nic Ciardini. Picture: Dave Haines
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Lee Bradbury was delighted to see the Hawks get back to winning ways with a 2-1 Skrill South triumph over Farnborough at Westleigh Park last night.

However, the boss warned his men there is still room for improvement.

Second-half goals from Nic Ciardini and Ryan Woodford put the home side in control.

But sloppy defending – similar to that which saw the Hawks beaten by Tonbridge Angels and Bishop’s Stortford in their previous two games – let the Yellows net late on to set up a tense finale.

Bradbury said: ‘It was good to get back to winning ways and important we turned things around.

‘We had to be patient, particularly in the first half when the two sides cancelled each other out.

‘But I knew the longer the game went on, we would be the fitter and we ended up getting into them.

‘I’m pleased for Nic – scoring against his old club.

‘However, we have to stop conceding these sloppy goals.

‘We did it again in the last minute and we have to do a lot better.

‘We had to be resilient and disciplined and in the end we were.’

The Hawks handed a debut to 19-year-old goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons, who has joined on loan from Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile, their other loan arrival – Crawley Town striker Jonte Smith – was named on the bench.

Farnborough settled the quickest on a surface slick from the rain.

And they soon put the Hawks under pressure.

The home side had the first strike, though, with Christian Nanetti forcing a near-post save from former Westleigh Park keeper Kevin Scriven.

The Yellows threatened again – but Dan Bennett saw his goal-bound shot blocked by a defender.

It was proving hard work for the hosts and Ed Harris had to make a last-ditch tackle to prevent Dave Tarpey getting on the end of a near-post ball.

The Hawks began to show signs of improvement with Sahr Kabba and Pedro Monteiro both nodding balls narrowly past the post.

But they had a let off three minutes before the break when Tarpey screwed a shot wide of the far post with just the keeper to beat.

Danger threatened for the Hawks early in the second half, too, when Fitzsimons spilled a free-kick and had to dive and save at Tarpey’s feet.

The Hawks made the vital breakthrough on 64 minutes, though.

And Ciardini was the hero, scoring against his old club.

He latched on to a Nanetti cross from the left and powered in a half-volley from the edge of the area.

Nanetti then suffered an injury and was replaced by Eddie Hutchinson for the final 15 minutes. But despite the loss of his creative talents, the home side tightened their grip on the points with a second goal on 82 minutes.

Ciardini whipped in a corner and defender Ryan Woodford was on hand to score with a powerful downward header.

Farnborough’s Josh Huggins then set up a tense final few minutes when he netted in similar fashion – but the hosts held on.

HAWKS: Fitzsimons, Strugnell, Blanchett, Monteiro, Woodford, Harris, Nanetti, Kewley-Graham, Ciardini, Kabba, Ryan. Subs: Oli, Smith, Hutchinson, Przespolewski, Newton

FARNBOROUGH: Scriven, Huggins, Treacher, James-Lewis, Doyle, Bosch, Bennett, Laidler, Tarpey, Hammond, Donnelly. Subs: Berry, Connolly, Jones, Koo-Boothe, Hope

Referee: A Quelch (New Milton). Att: 469