Hawks dig deep for crucial home triumph

Scott Jones lobs the Salisbury keeper to make it 1-0 to the Hawks. Picture: Dave Haines
Scott Jones lobs the Salisbury keeper to make it 1-0 to the Hawks. Picture: Dave Haines
Lewis Noice. Picture: Neil Marshall (171033-118)

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The Hawks hauled themselves out of the Blue Square Bet South relegation zone with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Salisbury City at Westleigh Park.

Striker Scott Jones gave the home side the perfect start after 12 minutes with a sublime piece of finishing.

But their joy was short-lived as the visitors levelled within three minutes.

For the second consecutive game, however, it was a Christian Nanetti penalty that finally earned the Hawks a precious three points.

With a 100-per-cent record from his two games in charge, caretaker-manager Steve Johnson was obviously delighted and he paid tribute to his side’s work ethic.

‘We had to dig deep,’ said Johnson.

‘The players put in a hard shift at Truro over the weekend which took a lot out of them.

‘The quality came through again and we deserved the win.

‘We scored a great first goal but you are never more vulnerable than just after you score and so it was proved.

‘It was a soft one for us to give away.

‘The second half was always going to be a nervous one for us and the key was keeping a set of cool and calm heads.

‘In the most part we did that.’

Jones’ opening goal was superb, as he brought down Steve Ramsey’s pin-point through ball with an exquisite piece of control before deftly lobbing the ball over the stranded goalkeeper into the empty net.

Almost immediately, Charlie Griffin rose above a static home defence to glance home a header from a corner to level the scores.

On 26 minutes, Nanetti, who had tormented the Salisbury full-back from the start, was pushed over just inside the area.

Just as he did at Truro, the former QPR man picked himself up and confidently converted his spot-kick.

The second half continued as a closely-fought affair and when Salisbury broke through five minutes from time, Chris Arthur got back to clear off the line.

The final five minutes were tense for the Hawks as Salisbury pinned them back but they maintained the dogged determination to keep the visitors at bay.

‘We have always tried to make teams work hard to get anything from us,’ said Johnson.

‘Defensively, we remained compact and kept our shape when we didn’t have the ball.

‘The last five minutes were a bit of a rollercoaster and I am starting to realise what this job is about.

‘The pressure was on us at the start, being in the bottom three, but now we have put the pressure back in the court of one or two other teams.

‘The key now is staying out of the bottom three.’

Hawks: Thomas 7; Newton 8, Arthur 9, Hinshelwood 8, Dolan 8, Pearce 7, Ramsey 7, Hutchinson 8, Jones 8 (Palmer 71), Igoe 8 (Hopkinson 90), Nanetti 8.

Attendance: 743