Warren Cummings believes the Hawks can test the mental resolve of play-off rivals Boreham Wood by scoring the first goal in the return leg.
Lee Bradbury’s side were well beaten on Wednesday night in the first game of their semi-final clash as they went down 2-0 at Westleigh Park.
I’m not saying for one minute that they will be complacent, but if we can get the first goal, it will certainly test their characterWarren Cummings
They will need a special performance to drag themselves back into the contest at Meadow Park, tomorrow (3pm).
Former Bournemouth left-back Cummings thinks the complexion of the game can change in an instant.
But he also understands how vital the first goal will be as the Hawks attempt to make a remarkable recovery – and knows his side will need a much-improved display to have any chance of going through to the final.
Cummings said: ‘I’m not saying for one minute that they (Boreham Wood) will be complacent.
‘But if we can get the first goal, it will certainly test their character.
‘A few nerves may set in on them.
‘There is a possibility that a few of them might be thinking that the game is won. If they do think that way, we have to be prepared to take advantage of that.
‘If we get the first goal, then we will see what happens. It’s certainly not an impossibility but we have to get ourselves together and go again.
‘Why can’t we go there and win 2-0 or better?
‘We’re not going to the hardest place in the world. We’re not going to Old Trafford – it’s a Conference South match.
‘We’ve already beaten them twice so we know we are capable of doing it.
‘But we will need to be better, take the chances that come our way and keep it tight at the back.’
Cummings felt the Hawks’ defenders were unable to handle the dangerous front pairing of Lee Angol and Junior Morais on Wednesday night.
But Bradbury’s side should be stronger with Ed Harris and Brian Stock both available after serving their suspensions.
‘In the first half, we didn’t get to grips with their front two,’ said Cummings.
‘They work really well together and they were a handful all night.
‘If Ed and Brian are selected, it will be a big plus to have those two back in.
‘They are two very good players at this level and are important to us.’
Bradbury admits his mindset has already changed on how he will approach the game but he knows he has to strike the right balance, otherwise his side could be out of the tie.
‘Of course it changes your mindset on what we have to do at their place,’ said Bradbury.
‘We’ve got to go for it and get on the front foot.
‘I would rather go there and lose 2-0 having had a real go and been positive, rather than sitting in and hoping something happens.
‘Once they scored, they sat in a little bit and tried to frustrate us so we had to be patient.
‘We will have to be patient again on Saturday.
‘It could be like that from the start with their two banks of four with us trying to break them down.
‘Then they can attack us with the pace they have got in their team.
‘We will have to be mindful of that.
‘We need to be positive but we need to nullify them at the same time.’
HAWKS: Young, Huggins, Strugnell, Harris, Dutton, Cummings, Swallow, Carmichael, Stock, Donnelly, Cornick, Hooper, Bubb, Mullings, Ciardini, Woodford, Awford, Wright, Blanchett