‘Fantastic’ Hawks take control of title race with derby win

Jason Prior holds off Rocks player Calvin Davies. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Jason Prior holds off Rocks player Calvin Davies. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Blu Boam in action against Bashley. Picture: Keith Woodland

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HAWKS boss Lee Bradbury praised his side after they beat Bognor 1-0 to take command of the Ryman League premier division title race.

Wes Fogden netted the only goal in front of a record league crowd of 2,307 fans at Westleigh Park.

Brian Stock on the ball for the Hawks against Bognor at a packed Westleigh Park. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Brian Stock on the ball for the Hawks against Bognor at a packed Westleigh Park. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Bradbury was delighted with the way his team performed and they are now two points clear going into the final set of matches on Saturday.

He said: ‘I am really proud of my team and the way they performed,’ said Bradbury.

‘It was a fantastic performance, full of energy, to topple the league leaders.

‘We knew Bognor liked to play from the back so we pressed and played high up the field.

‘The way we played suffocated them and forced them to play a more direct game.

‘The first half was very edgy with neither team wanting to make a mistake.

‘In the second half it opened up a bit and Wes Fogden scored a great goal to do the trick.

‘Our fate is now in our own hands but we still need to go to Kingstonian and finish the job.’

Hawks striker Jason Prior returned to the starting line-up after passing a fitness test.

The visitors made one change with Dan Beck replacing Gary Charman in central midfield.

The start of the match was delayed for 15 minutes to allow for the people in the queues outside the ground to gain entrance.

Hawks had the first chance but Rocks goalkeeper Dan Lincoln made a comfortable save from an early Alfie Rutherford header, after Theo Lewis’ cross.

The hosts continued on the front foot and Brian Stock showed a lovely piece of skill to trick his way past Doug Tuck and almost picked out Lewis with a through ball.

The visitors threatened as Sami El-Abd beat goalkeeper Ryan Young in the air but the ball was cleared.

Bradbury’s men ended the first half strongly and made a bright start to the second as well.

They got the all-important breakthrough in the 55th minute from a cleverly worked short corner.

Williams and Fogden combined well and the latter fired his angled shot into the far corner from inside the area.

Woodford was forced to clear from in front of goal as the Rocks looked to make a quick reply.

On 66 minutes Lincoln made a point-blank save from Lewis to keep the Rocks in the game.

Prior and Stock then both sent shots over the bar.

But it didn’t matter as the Hawks closed out the vital victory.

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Harris, Molyneaux, Woodford, Williams, Stock, Fogden, Lewis, Rutherford, Prior. Subs: Barker, Swallow, Hayter, Tarbuck, Carter

Bognor: Lincoln, Davies, Barnett, Tuck, El-Abd, Field, Fraser, Beck, Wild, Muitt, Whyte. Subs: Crane, Budd, Dolcetti, Pearce, Parsons

Attendance: 2,307