Hawks boss refuses to panic after latest pre-season setback

Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Ryan Pennery

Goal-hungry Ryan Pennery keen on Gosport return

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Lee Bradbury refused to be too downbeat despite the Hawks suffering defeat in their final pre-season game.

Ryan Pennery’s second-half strike earned Moneyfields a surprise victory in the rain at Westleigh Park.

It was not a result to inspire confidence ahead of the Hawks’ first game back in National League South at Chippenham Town next Saturday.

Bradbury admits he is not a great lover of pre-season.

But despite their defeat, he felt his team played some good football and passed the ball well.

They just failed to make it count in the final third – thanks in part to an outstanding performance by Moneyfields keeper Steve Mowthorpe.

‘We knew it was going to be a tough game and Moneyfields would be well up for it,’ said Bradbury.

‘That is why we took the game at this stage.

‘It was like a league game with people leaving their foot in like it means something to them.

‘Obviously it wasn’t the result that we wanted but performance-wise I felt we passed the ball well.

‘We had plenty of possession and had the better chances in the game.

‘But for their goalkeeper, we could easily have been three up at half-time.

‘We defended well but for one lapse of concentration at the back when we conceded the goal.

‘That was the only chance they had all game, so overall I thought our performance was okay.’

The Hawks dominated possession but in the opening 45 minutes much of their play was pedestrian in pace.

On numerous occasions the ball was passed back or across the field.

This allowed their Southern League division one central opponents to get players behind the ball.

When the Hawks did get forward they then struggled to break down the massed defence.

It didn’t help that their final ball often lacked the required quality to pose a problem.

Moneyfields were very good at slowing the game down and preventing the Hawks from playing at a fast tempo.

It all added up to a frustrating afternoon for the home forwards.

‘We have a target man in Jason Prior and need to play to him a bit more,’ added Bradbury.

‘But we are patient in the way we play and have good footballers in our squad. Therefore we don’t want to be smashing the ball up the pitch.

‘The good thing about our team is we can mix up the way we play.

‘But that was something we did not do well enough on Saturday.

‘It was a frustrating day for us and one when we lacked the final ball and shot.’

Bradbury now faces the challenge of getting his troops to raise their game ahead of the National League South curtain-raiser in Wiltshire next weekend.