Hawks boss believes his troops had their ‘pockets picked’

Josh Huggins. Picture: Mick Young (141590-06)
Josh Huggins. Picture: Mick Young (141590-06)
Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

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Lee Bradbury felt the Hawks were mugged in their 3-2 Vanarama Conference South defeat against Chelmsford City at Westleigh Park.

The home side battered the Essex visitors for long periods, only to finish the game empty-handed.

A soft penalty, a headed goal from a set-piece, and a deflected goal ended the Hawks’ nine-game unbeaten run.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Bradbury as his team failed to make their superiority count in an entertaining contest.

‘We feel as though we have had our pockets picked,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘After having the majority of the possession and the better chances, we have been undone by a bit of bad luck.

‘That happens sometimes.

‘It was our best start to a game this season and some of the best football we have played for a while.

‘In that period, we passed them off the pitch and they couldn’t get near us.

‘We had three clear chances but failed to take them and it ended up costing us.

‘I felt we deserved at least a point, if not all three.’

The Hawks pinned the Clarets back, launching wave after wave of attacks from the start.

The visitors hardly got out of their own half but when they finally did they were gifted a soft 27th-minute penalty.

Ed Harris clearly tripped Lee Sawyer and Christian Smith blasted home from the spot.

‘It was a penalty and there was always the danger they would break out and get something,’ said Bradbury.

Bradley Bubb levelled in the 35th minute.

But Marvyn Expiteta restored the visitors’ lead with a header from a corner on the stroke of half-time.

It was no surprise when Josh Huggins levelled the scores for a second time, with an acrobatic hook shot from inside the area.

At that stage, the Hawks looked set to go on and take maximum points.

They were the dominant side at that stage of the contest.

Remarkably, though, Chelmsford went ahead for a third time in the 71st minute as the Hawks suffered some cruel bad luck.

Keeper Ryan Young looked to have Rohdell Gordon’s shot from outside the area covered all the way.

Unfortunately for the home side, the ball struck Brian Dutton on the back, wrong-footed the keeper, and flew into the opposite corner.

That proved enough for the visitors to get the victory.

‘After that they just sat in, defended for their lives and proved impossible to break down,’ said Bradbury

‘I was pleased with our response in the second half and we kept going right to the end.

‘It was just one of those games but, hopefully, we have learnt that we have to be switched on at all times.

‘We conceded three goals and we haven’t done that for a while.’

Bradbury knows his side still have plenty of room for improvement ahead of their important match on Saturday against Canvey Island in the FA Cup.

‘There are things to look at and work on and we have to dust ourselves down for our big FA Cup game at Canvey Island,’ said the Hawks boss.

Before then, the Hawks are hoping to stage their Portsmouth Senior Cup tie tonight against Southsea United at Westleigh Park (7.45pm). Entry will be free for the match.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Donnelly, Ciardini (Connell, 73mins), Stock, Bubb (Mullings, 81mins), Hooper (Swallow, 88mins), Huggins

Att: 579