Hawks earn draw with Crystal Palace XI

Perry Ryan   Picture: Martyn White
Perry Ryan Picture: Martyn White
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Lee Bradbury praised his Hawks side after they battled to a 0-0 draw with a Crystal Palace XI at Westleigh Park.

In an open and entertaining game, the Hawks survived an early scare when Fisayo Adarabayo hit the woodwork to prove more than a match for an Eagles side made up primarily of development players.

‘There was lots to be pleased about out there tonight,’ said Hawks boss Bradbury.

‘I thought we moved the ball well and kept a clean sheet against quality opposition.

‘Defensively, we kept our shape and remained organised throughout.

‘Palace looked to hit us on the break, launching quick counter-attacks but we dealt with them very well.

‘Our communication was excellent and that showed in the way we played.’

The Hawks included ex-Bromley striker Shamir Mullings as a triallist.

The visitors had former Pompey defender Sam Magri in their ranks.

The home side had a lucky escape in the first minute.

The Eagles opened them up down the right and Adarabioyo crashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar.

Palace then wasted another great chance on 17 minutes when Jacob Berkeley passed instead of shooting with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Mullings almost gave the Hawks the lead, though, with a sharp turn and shot which whistled past the far post.

And the triallist went close again soon afterwards with a header that was cleared off the line as the two sides entered the interval level.

Scott Donnelly went close to breaking the deadlock at the start of the second half after linking well with Bradley Bubb.

But it was the Eagles who looked more threatening going forward and Sullay Kaikai saw his goal bound shot deflected for a corner.

When Bubb was worked into space he put his shot too close to the goalkeeper who pulled off a low save.

The Hawks were putting in a good shift containing the lively Palace attackers.

They even went close to snatching the all-important game-winning goal late in the game when Perry Ryan flashed a low shot narrowly past the far post.

Bradbury, who is on the lookout for a new striker after the defection of striker Dennis Oli to Hemel Hempstead earlier this week, admitted talks will now take place with impressive triallist Mullings.

He added: ‘Shamir Mullings worked hard and impressed us. I shall certainly be having a talk to him.’

Elsewhere, AFC Portchester and Bognor played out a 1-1 draw at Wicor Rec.

Curt Robbins fired the Wessex League premier division hosts in front, before former Portchester midfielder Jake Thomson netted a second-half equaliser for Ryman premier Rocks.

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Cummings, Medway, Strugnell, Woodford, Donnelly, Ryan, Mullings, Bubb, Swallow. Subs: Ciardini, Monteiro, Wedlake, Bradbury L, Searle