Hawks defeat Rams after successful South Downs switch

Ryan Young. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-321)
Ryan Young. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150209-321)
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The Hawks continued their unbeaten pre-season with a 2-0 triumph over Petersfield Town at South Downs College last night.

Ryan Young saved a Joe Briggs spot-kick before James Hayter gave the hosts the lead.

And after Lee Bradbury’s men had survived a couple of scares, Jake Gale sealed the win with a stunning strike late on.

The Hawks boss said: ‘Petersfield were well organised and worked hard to give us a big test.

‘It was a good tight contest on a smaller pitch than we are used to.

‘We have done well in pre-season but it means nothing when the season starts.’

Rams manager Ian Saunders also took a lot of positives from the game.

‘For us it was a really good work out played at a high tempo.

‘It was disappointing not to score and their first goal showed you will get punished if you switch off.’

Incessant rain forced the Hawks to switch the games from Westleigh Park to the college’s 3G pitch.

The Southern League side included former Hawks Harry Wedlake, Ollie Searle and Alex Przespolewski in their starting line-up.

However, it was Westleigh Park new boy Matt Paterson who shone brightest in a lively opening and it took a good save from Matt Shortt to deny him the first goal.

The Hawks should have gone ahead when Ben Swallow pulled the ball back from the byline but Hayter wasted a glorious chance as he headed wide of the target.

The Rams were having to work hard with the home side having the lion’s share of possession in a competitive contest. Liam Kimber forced a one-handed save from Shortt before the Rams wasted a glorious 29th-minute chance to break the deadlock.

Kimber clearly brought Danny Boyle down inside the area to concede a penalty.

But Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Young dived to his right to keep out Joe Briggs’ spot-kick.

Hayter finally made the breakthrough for the Hawks five minutes before the interval when he was given the time and space to bring the ball down and fire past Shortt.

Lee Bradbury made a number of changes at the start of the second half – including replacing goalscorer Hayter with Marvin Morgan.

Both teams cancelled each other out in the opening 20 minutes, with chances at a premium.

However, Boyle almost paid for giving the ball away when Morgan crashed a long-range shot against the crossbar with Shortt beaten.

It became a scrappy affair, although Town’s Luke Walker fired a shot narrowly past the post with Charlie Searle scrambling across his goal line.

The Rams went close again only for Lee Molyneaux to rescue Searle with a goalline clearance and deny the visitors an equaliser.

Nine minutes from time Jake Gale sealed the Hawks win when he chested the ball down before hammering in a terrific 30-yard strike which flew in off the post.

Hawks: Young, Strugnall, Cummings, Kimber, Molyneaux, Harris, Swallow, Donnelly, Paterson, Hayter, Clifton

Petersfield Town: Shortt, Searle, Wain, Wedlake, Hyde, Sackman, Boyle, Prezespolewski, Neale, Briggs, Cope

Referee: D Cook