Hawks’ feathers ruffled by 10-man Larks

Hawks striker James Hayter   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Hawks striker James Hayter Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Lee Bradbury was left bemused by the Hawks’ failure to beat 10-man Larkhall Athletic in their FA Cup second qualifying round tie at Plain Ham.

The two teams will meet again in tomorrow night’s replay at Westleigh Park (7.45pm) after the first tie ended in a 1-1 draw.

How the Hawks didn’t go on to win the game after James Hayter gave them an early lead was hard to understand.

The visitors hit the woodwork twice, had two efforts cleared off the goal line and missed numerous clear-cut chances.

Home goalkeeper Kyle Phillips also pulled off a series of good saves to keep the National League South team at bay.

That’s after Bradbury’s side also failed to make the most of their numerical advantage when the hosts had Brad Norris sent off.

In the end, one careless piece of defending cost the Hawks – who must now look to finish the job at home.

‘After scoring a good early goal we had three or four golden chances in the six-yard box we didn’t put away,’ said Bradbury.

‘A second goal would have killed the tie off and I don’t think anyone at the game would have denied we deserved to win it.

‘How we haven’t won convincingly is unbelievable.’

The visitors made a dream start with a goal after only six minutes in their first attack.

Ben Swallow delivered a pin-point cross to the near post where Hayter timed his run perfectly to thump a header past Phillips.

With the Hawks in total charge, Dan Strugnell smashed a header against the bar and Phillips tipped another Hayter effort on to the woodwork.

The home side’s approach unfortunately failed to match the beautiful surroundings of their ground nestling in the hills outside the city of Bath.

Twice Brian Stock was left prone on the turf requiring treatment after crude late challenges.

The Southern League south & west side, however, paid the price for their robust approach before the hour mark.

Norris hauled a Hawks defender to the ground at a set-piece right in front of the referee and picked up a second yellow card.

Bradbury said: ‘We always knew it was going to be a scrap and I was pleased with the way our players stood up to it. Their attitude was fantastic.

‘Pedro Monteiro came in at the back and did well because he hasn’t played since pre-season.’

Three minutes after going down to 10 men, Larkhall grabbed their lifeline of an equaliser.

Joe Raynes burst through some weak challenges and when the ball fell back to him from Monteiro he poked it into the net.

The Hawks laid siege to the home goal for the rest of the game but couldn’t make it count.

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Blanchett, Stock, Monteiro, Monthe, Swallow, Donnelly, Paterson (Morgan, 78min), Hayter (Mullings, 78min), Azeez (Thomson, 87min)

Att: 210