Clark reckons Hawks can Master Eastleigh challenge

Hawks Clark Masters saves the hawks from going 2:0 down'Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)
Hawks Clark Masters saves the hawks from going 2:0 down'Dave Haines (Photo credit should read Picture/s by Dave Haines)
Jason Prior. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Clark Masters believes the Hawks can build on their resilient Boxing Day win at Eastbourne and make it a fine festive double with victory over Eastleigh.

The keeper has also lauded the impact of manager Lee Bradbury, with the Hawks now up to 13th in the Blue Square Bet South table.

Masters, who previously played for Eastbourne, was in outstanding form at Priory Lane.

He also received great protection from a fine defensive performance as the Hawks managed only their second shut out of the season.

That 1-0 success will provide the team with plenty of confidence as they head to the Silverlake Stadium to face Eastleigh tomorrow (3pm).

‘It was a fantastic win for us,’ said Masters.

‘For me, it was great to go back to my old stomping ground and pick up three points with a clean sheet.

‘I don’t see why we can’t pick up all nine points over the holiday games.

‘Since the new gaffer has come in, things have changed and he has been fantastic for us as a group of lads.

‘He has given us a lot more purpose and direction going into games.

‘The way we prepare now is just like I used to when I was full-time with clubs like Brentford, Southend and Aldershot.

‘He is so professional in everything he does and that rubs off on the rest of us.’

The Hawks showed a lot of guts and determination to win at Eastbourne in horrendous conditions.

Although the pitch held up well, the players had to endure gale-force winds and torrential rain for most of the 90 minutes.

The fact that both teams kept mistakes down to a minimum was of great credit to them.

After a hesitant opening 15 minutes, the Hawks took the game to their hosts and, in the end, could have won by more.

As it was, they secured the win thanks to a Christian Nanetti penalty.

Borough were restricted to long-range efforts which Masters dealt with comfortably.

The keeper’s handling was impeccable in the wet.

Only once was he under threat when a cross evaded him in the second half.

‘Those were the worst conditions I have ever played in,’ said Masters.

‘The wind was dreadful and took the ball away from me on one occasion.

‘But then it was all hands on deck as we managed to block the ball three times before it rebounded out, off the woodwork.’

Bradbury is likely to stick with much the same starting line-up at Eastleigh, with front pair Ollie Palmer and Sar Kabba starting to mould an excellent partnership up front.

Palmer’s strength, combined with the pace of Kabba, is proving a handful for opposition defences.

Wednesday’s match-winner Nanetti is also beginning to bring much more of a team ethic to his game.

He’s always provided the tricky skills on the ball but is now showing an increased appetite for the defensive side of his role.

He covered every blade of grass at Eastbourne, helping stifle the home threat.