Hawks beaten as Dover take Nanetti gamble

Bradley Bubb in action against West Ham under-21s Picture: Martyn White
Bradley Bubb in action against West Ham under-21s Picture: Martyn White
Craig McAllister. Picture: Keith Woodland

Pike sees positives amid Borough’s misfortune

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Lee Bradbury believes Conference Premier Dover are taking a gamble on Christian Nanetti as the midfielder prepares to leave Westleigh Park.

The Hawks boss last night confirmed the attacking midfielder was on the verge of joining Chris Kinnear’s side – despite Dover claiming the deal has already been completed.

But after witnessing his side go down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham under-21s in their latest pre-season friendly, Bradbury admitted the former QPR midfielder failed to live up to his potential during his two-year spell with the club.

‘Christian Nanetti wanted a new challenge and Dover have taken a gamble on him,’ said Bradbury.

‘On his day Christian can cause opponents all sorts of problems with his pace and trickery on the ball.

‘He struggled a bit to produce an end product for us at times and had a few fitness issues.

‘He never fulfilled his full potential with us and feels he can do that elsewhere. He needs to be training every day and it will be interesting to see how he goes.’

While Nanetti’s Hawks career looks to be over, it’s only just starting for new signing Bradley Bubb.

He scored in the 2-1 defeat to the Hammers and earned praised from his manager.

Bradbury, however, was frustrated by the way the visitors clinched victory.

‘It was an entertaining affair and we played well despite losing,’ he said.

‘Bradley showed his real potential with a stunning equaliser.

‘The manner in which we conceded the winning goal from a ball straight up the middle was disappointing, though’

The visitors looked dangerous in the opening minutes and twice threatened the home goal.

But new winger Ben Swallow hit back for the Hawks, forcing a corner after dancing past his defender.

Dan Strugnell then made a vital interception on 13 minutes to prevent Jordan Brown getting a clear sight of goal.

Both teams began passing the ball around nicely and keeper Ryan Young was called into action when he beat out a firmly-hit shot from Parfitt Williams on 25 minutes.

Perry Ryan went closest for the Hawks in the first half when his side-foot shot from inside the area was deflected for a corner.

Young impressed again with a good, low save to keep out Brown’s fierce, low drive from the edge of the area.

Both teams made wholesale changes at the start of the second half.

And substitute Bubb should have put the Hawks ahead nine minutes into the second period.

The striker robbed Kieran Bywater in the Hammers half and raced clear, only to scuff his shot wide of the post.

The miss proved costly as the Hammers finally made the breakthrough 10 minutes from time through Elliott Lee.

In a frantic finish, the Hawks equalised – only to concede again straight from the restart.

On 87 minutes, Bubb curled a shot home from the edge of the area.

But immediately afterwards, Lee burst through to grab his second goal as the Londoners wrapped up a 2-1 win.

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Blanchett, Harris, Woodford, Strugnell, Ryan, Wedlake, Showunmi, Junior, Swallow. Subs: Cummings, Monteiro, Medway, Ciardini, Przespolewski, Bubb

West Ham: Howey, Pike, Mavilla, Onanse, Burke, Makasi, Fanimo, Bailey, Brown, Gordon, Williams. Subs: Brown, Bywater, Maiga, Pask, Westley, Oxford, Lee, Sadlier, Knoyle, Turgott, Nasha, Diagana