Gale disappointed with derby draw

Craig McAllister. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Honours ended even as the Hawks and Eastleigh fought out a goalless draw in their Blue Square Bet South derby at Westleigh Park.

A Christmas cracker it was not, as the two sides cancelled each other out and defences held sway throughout the Boxing Day battle.

The visitors had to survive the last four minutes with 10 men after ex-Hawks captain Tom Jordan was sent off for a second bookable offence.

But they did so with ease to earn a share of the spoils.

Goal-scoring chances were few and far between, though both sides had an opportunity to snatch all three points.

Hawks boss Shaun Gale had mixed feelings at the final whistle.

He was upset his side failed to make the most of their home advantage but, in the end, he was happy with a point.

‘I am bitterly disappointed because I would have liked three points,’ said Gale.

‘We knew it would be difficult because Eastleigh are a good side and it turned out to be a cagey battle.

‘No-one wants to lose in a derby – I thought we contained them well enough and limited their opportunities.

‘We had two very good chances but didn’t put them to bed.

‘In the final third I thought we could have done a lot better at times – neither goalkeeper had a save to make – but we will take a point.

‘I can’t fault the work-rate and effort of my players because they worked their socks off.’

With central defender Chris Holland suspended, Jon McDonald moved into the heart of the Hawks defence.

Craig Braham-Barrett was preferred to Bobby Hopkinson to give the home side greater pace on the flanks.

And the Hawks saw two good chances go to waste inside the first 10 minutes.

Braham-Barrett fired a shot narrowly wide of the far post and Scott Jones volleyed over the top from eight yards with just the goalkeeper to beat.

It was Eastleigh’s turn to go close on 15 minutes as Jamie Brown’s header from a corner was cleared off the line by full-back Jake Newton.

A minute before the break a misjudgement by Jordan from Lyall Beazley’s long clearance presented Sammy Igoe with a clear run on goal but the experienced player’s first touch took him too wide.

The stalemate continued after the break, although the dangerous Graeme Montgomery twice went close for the visitors.

He fired one effort narrowly the wrong side of the far post and then sent a deft chip beyond Beazley but it drifted just over the bar.

Four minutes from time, Jordan departed after picking up a second yellow for a foul on substitute Lee Peacock.

But the Hawks ran out of time to make the numerical advantage count.

‘A month ago it was a game we would have lost,’ said Gale.

‘I thought we defended very well, kept going and continued doing the right things.’

Hawks: Beazley 7, Newton 7, Arthur 7, Hinshelwood 7 (Palmer 6 – 52mins), McDonald 7 (Woodford – 81mins), Pearce 8, Igoe 7, Ramsey 8, Jones 6 (Peacock 6 – 69mins), Braham-Barrett 7, Cashman 7. Att: 938.