Courage and strength shone through as Hawks made point at Ebbsfleet

Nicke Kabamba was lively against Ebbsfleet for brave Hawks. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Nicke Kabamba was lively against Ebbsfleet for brave Hawks. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
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Lee Bradbury praised the courage shown by the Hawks to earn a 1-1 Vanarama National League draw at Ebbsfleet United.

At a wet Stonebridge Road the visitors battled and fought.

The Hawks had to be brave.

Manager Bradbury handed National League debuts to four players.

Loanee defender Tyler Cordner, from AFC Bournemouth, goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski, midfielder Marley Ridge and striker Aaron Cosgrave were all drafted into the starting line-up.

For much of the game the Hawks found themselves fighting a gritty rearguard action.

Once the home side were reduced to ten-men in the final 14 minutes they might even have snatched a winning goal.

Bradbury was delighted with the application shown by his team under pressure.

He said: ‘I was really impressed and we came back well after some poor results recently.

‘We needed some legs in the team and so I made changes. It was good we came here and really competed.

‘At the end when they went down to 10 men it was disappointing not to go on and win it.

‘We can take a lot of confidence out of this game and I was proud of the players out there.

‘It was a pretty even game and we gave them a good game. We have a lot of bodies out at the moment but the players who came in did well for us.’

The Hawks took the lead after just two minutes.

Nicke Kabamba, who was a handful all afternoon, raced onto a forward header.

He cleverly took the ball round goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore and crossed to Cosgrave who scored from close-range.

On 27 minutes the home side equalised courtesy of a bit of inexperience on the part of Dudzinski.

The young keeper raced out of his area only to be beaten to the ball.

When the cross came in Michael Cheek was able to net before the defence could recover.

In the second half Ebbsfleet continued to attack but ran out of ideas against a well-organised defence.

Once the hosts had Kenny Clark dismissed the Hawks sensed they could win it.

And they almost did with substitute Andreas Robinson firing narrowly wide in stoppage-time.

Bradbury added: ‘We were organised and stayed strong.

‘When they had to the players were prepared to put their bodies on the line.

‘At the same time we had the pace to try and hit them on the break.

‘Our attitude was spot-on.’

Despite the draw the Hawks remain in the bottom four on goal difference.

They go to Barnet next on Tuesday night.

Hawks: Dudzinski, Cordner, Woodford, Harris, Williams, Huggins, Stock, Lewis (Sekajja 83mins), Ridge (A. Robinson 75mins), Cosgrave (Pavey 75mins), Kabamba.

Attendance: 1,141