Hawks boss makes no apologies for ugly win

Alfie Rutherford. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)
Alfie Rutherford. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)
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Lee Bradbury made no apologies as his Hawks netted an ugly victory over Wealdstone at Westleigh Park.

The manager saluted the impact of Alfie Rutherford after the striker rose from the bench to net the only goal of the game on 80 minutes last night.

It wasn’t pretty but the win ensured the Hawks extended their lead at the top of National League South to four points.

And the title favourites still have the luxury of a game in hand on second-placed Dartford.

‘Sometimes you have to win ugly,’ said Hawks boss Bradbury.

‘We had to really dig in because they came and had a real go at us.

‘They closed us down, worked really hard and made it very difficult.

‘We have to take a lot of credit out of the game for keeping another clean sheet.

‘Ryan Young made a great save at 0-0 to give us the chance to go on and win.

‘It is all about results at this stage and we dug out another win.

‘Wealdstone grabbed the initiative in the second half and it took a gutsy performance from us to come through.

‘We collected the three points and that is the most important factor. It can’t always be as pretty as you want it to be.

‘But Alfie coming on and scoring shows we have players who can change games.’

Bradbury made one change to his side with Dan Strugnell replacing Jordan Rose, who was ill.

Wealdstone, meanwhile, included former Hawks striker Mustafa Tiryaki in their starting line-up.

The hosts showed intent from the start – launching an attack straight from the kick-off before the visitors desperately scrambled the ball away.

On 11 minutes, Jake Sheppard fired a 25-yard free-kick straight at Hawks keeper Young.

But after the early action, a physical midfield stalemate ensued. Rory Williams threatened with one burst down the left but when the ball was pulled back Bradley Tarbuck missed his kick.

Workmanlike Wealdstone continued to frustrate the hosts and both sides continued to lack creativity at the start of the second half.

The visitors went closest when Young spilled a 20-yard free-kick but the rebound was fired wide.

It took a fantastic one-handed save from the keeper to prevent the hosts falling behind to a David Pratt header on 62 minutes.

The visitors were in control and looking more likely to score and disappointingly the Hawks were hardly offering an attacking threat.

But on 80 minutes they broke out to snatch the all-important goal.

Wes Fogden’s shot came back off the keeper and Rutherford, who replaced Matt Tubbs midway through the half, knocked in the rebound.

Hawks: Young, Williams, Stock, Woodford, Harris, Fogden, Lewis, Prior, Tubbs, Tarbuck, Strugnell. Subs: Huggins, Rutherford, Carter, Robinson, Hayter