Hawks boss delighted with terrific Trophy win

Christian Nanetti opened the scoring for the Hawks. Picture: Dave Haines
Christian Nanetti opened the scoring for the Hawks. Picture: Dave Haines
Ben Wright is in good scoring form. Picture: Keith Woodland

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The Hawks laid their Sutton nightmare to rest as goals from Christian Nanetti and Sahr Kabba gave them a fine 2-1 FA Trophy win at Gander Green Lane.

September’s 5-0 home league defeat by the south London side hurt the Westleigh Park outfit badly.

And that showed in their determination to right the wrongs in what at times had to be a resolute display.

But Lee Bradbury’s side were excellent value for the win against one of the best sides in the Skrill South.

Nanetti put the Hawks ahead in the 15th minute – against the run of play after Kabba was fouled in the box.

The Italian then missed a second penalty chance before Kabba sealed his side’s passage with a breakaway goal eight minutes from time.

A late Craig Dundas strike led to an uneasy finale but the visitors showed great fortitude to hold out.

‘We came determined to give a better account of ourselves and achieved just that,’ said Bradbury.

‘Ed Harris and Pedro Monteiro were huge for us at the back and the whole team put their bodies on the line.

‘They all worked hard for each other and our energy levels were impressive.

‘I thought we got our just rewards and were deserved winners.

‘We could have won by more because we missed a penalty and also had a couple of other good chances.’

It looked ominous for the Hawks in the opening 15 minutes as the talented Sutton side set about them.

The visitors could hardly get hold of the ball but they managed to weather the storm and broke out to take the lead.

Kabba was needlessly fouled by home skipper Jamie Stuart and Nanetti stroked his spot-kick perfectly inside the post.

‘In the first 15 minutes we couldn’t get the ball but then we hit them on the counter-attack,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘Our pace up front caused them problems and once we went ahead we grew more into the game.

‘It gave the players added belief and the first goal was always going to be huge.

‘When Nanetti and Kabba are on their game they are unplayable and they were a thorn in Sutton’s side all game.’

A second Nanetti penalty followed in the 34th minute but this time he cracked his spot-kick against the upright with Steve Ramsey doing the same from the rebound.

The second half followed a similar pattern with Sutton on the offensive.

But the Hawks tightened their grip with Kabba’s 82nd-minute goal.

After that it was like the Alamo in the Hawks penalty area as Sutton threw everything at them in a late bid to save the game.

Dundas gave them a lifeline with his terrific strike five minutes from time.

But the desperate Hawks defence prevented a second breach.

‘This is a fantastic competition for teams at our level with the chance of going to Wembley at the end of it,’ said Bradbury.

‘Sometimes you just need a little bit of luck in the draw and we want to get as far as we can.’

Meanwhile, Warren Cummings will train with the Hawks tonight as Bradbury aims to tie up a deal for the ex-Bournemouth defender.

The draw for the next round of the FA Trophy – along with the FA Vase – will be made today.

Find out who the Hawks, Gosport Borough and our other sides will play at portsmouth.co.uk or in The News tomorrow.

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Ciardini, Kewley-Graham, Harris, Monteiro, Nanetti (Strugnell), Atangana, Oli (Jones), Kabba, Ramsey. Referee: D Rock