Hawks boss happy to make a point

Benji Buchel. Picture: Martyn White
Benji Buchel. Picture: Martyn White
Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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The Hawks kept their Skrill South play-off bid bubbling away with a well-deserved 0-0 draw against Chelmsford City at a sunny Melbourne Park.

An impressive ninth clean sheet in the last 13 games – and a fourth in succession – ensured Lee Bradbury’s side remained one point behind fifth-placed Dover Athletic.

With three games in hand, the Hawks are in a great position.

It could have been even better as both Sahr Kabba and Aristede Bassele missed glorious chances early in the the second half which, if converted, could have seen them net all three points.

But Bradbury was delighted to keep another clean sheet and return home with another point.

And he, once again, praised the resilience of his team and their ability to defend from front to back.

‘This was a hard-earned point against a very big physical side,’ said Bradbury.

‘They play a very direct style, chucking long throws into the box towards four or five big lads.

‘I thought we dealt with it really well on a bobbly, rock-hard pitch.

‘Other teams will go there and buckle in the last 10 minutes under that sort of pressure but we didn’t.

‘All we did was concentrate on not making any mistakes and keeping another clean sheet.

‘We also had the best chances in the game straight after half-time.’

The Hawks came under intense pressure in the opening 20 minutes of the contest.

They found themselves pinned back by the Clarets’ lively start.

It was a busy time for the visitors’ back four but once again Ryan Woodford had a brilliant game in the heart of the defence.

In recent matches the Isle of Wight-based talent has hardly put a foot wrong.

He has won his tackles and headers with the minimum of fuss, allowing the Hawks to build from a rock-solid foundation.

On one occasion on Saturday he found himself in a sticky situation inside is own box and facing the goal, only to cleverly outwit his attacker with a lovely piece of skill.

The Hawks hardly featured as an attacking force in the first half but immediately after the restart they had the best two chances of the game.

Kabba got through one-on-one with only the Chelmsford keeper to beat.

But he could only poke his shot wide of the target.

And then on-loan striker Bassele – totally unmarked at the back post – fired high and wide.

The Clarets kept pushing forward after that but rarely looked like breaking down the stubborn Hawks defence.

On-loan AFC Bournemouth keeper Benji Buchel added to his growing reputation with another confident display – securing his sixth clean sheet in seven games.

‘Benji produced a fantastic man-of-the-match performance,’ said Bradbury.

‘He came for the right balls, collected everything and showing a safe pair of hands.

‘The lad was like a coiled spring, getting great height coming for the long throws and crosses.

‘By doing that he relieved a lot of the pressure on our defence

‘Since coming to us he has grown in confidence and stature and that showed in this game.’

HAWKS: Buchel, Newton (Harris, 81mins), Blanchett, Donnelly, Strugnell, Woodford, Przespolewski (Hutchinson, 77mins), Atangana, Paterson, Kabba (Oli, 72mins), Bassele. Att: 613