Hawks desperate to banish Boxing Day woes

Matt Paterson goes for goal against Gosport on Boxing Day Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Matt Paterson goes for goal against Gosport on Boxing Day Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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The Hawks are determined to banish their Boxing Day blues by turning the tables on local rivals Gosport Borough at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

Alex Pike’s side hold the bragging rights after their 2-1 win at Privett Park, although opposite number Lee Bradbury’s felt his troops deserved at least a point from the game.

Last Saturday’s game was a hard-fought, physical encounter that was lit up by some stunning goals – and another exciting clash is likely.

Once again there is a lot at stake for both teams, who are keen to collect the points for different reasons.

The Hawks need a win in their bid to climb out of the National League South’s bottom three, while Borough are looking to consolidate their place in the play-off places.

To concede a league double to their local rivals would be a bitter pill for the Westleigh Park side to swallow and Bradbury will expect his team to be fired up in an attempt to prevent that from happening.

A win, however, could provide the Hawks with the springboard to move away from relegation danger.

‘It was a tight game the other day and I am expecting this one to be no different,’ said Bradbury.

‘On the balance of play, we probably had the better chances but ended up getting beat by a spectacular strike and an own goal.

‘When things are going against you that is what happens.

‘Our home form has been decent this season and we must look to exploit that.

‘Hopefully the conditions will be better and we will be able to get the ball down and play.

‘Neither team had many chances at Gosport and we must look to create more.

‘To do that our decision making and passing in the final third needs to be better.’

Bradbury was pleased with the battling qualities his team showed in the Boxing Day clash and is demanding the same again.

The Hawks will need to show a greater cutting edge, though, if they are to upset Borough.

Last time out, striker Matt Paterson was too isolated, particularly in the first half, spending a lot of time chasing lost causes.

The one time the Hawks did get the ball to him with some quality it paid dividends.

Paterson held the ball up well before laying it back for Scott Donnelly to score with a terrific curling shot.

Bradbury is also hoping others can chip in with goals, particularly at set-pieces.

‘I was pleased with the way we stood up to Gosport on Boxing Day,’ added Bradbury.

‘It was very competitive but apart from a couple of flashpoints it stayed within the boundaries.

‘I expect it to be just as passionate again.’

Nic Ciardini and Adrian Clifton remain ruled out by injury and there is no place in the squad for striker Marvin Morgan.

Hawks: Young, Medway, Hill, Molyneaux, Strugnell, Stock, Cummings, Donnelly, Lewis, Swallow, Paterson, Dutton, Hayter, Mullings, Thomson, Blanchett, McCarthy, Searle