Hawks game abandoned due to rain

Ollie Palmer opened the scoring for the Hawks against Dover Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Palmer opened the scoring for the Hawks against Dover Picture: Dave Haines
Wes Fogden drew a good save from the Hampton & Richmond keeper in a rare attempt on goal. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Mixed feelings for Hawks boss after stalemate

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The Hawks will have it all to do again after their Blue Square Bet South game with Dover was abandoned after 60 minutes.

Torrential rain at Westleigh Park made playing conditions virtually impossible, giving the referee no option but to call a halt to proceedings on the hour mark, with the home side leading 1-0.

Ollie Palmer put the play-off-chasing Hawks ahead in the 20th minute, while the home side also had an extra-man advantage after a flurry of red cards just before the game was called off.

Steve Thomson and Lloyd Harrington were both dismissed for the visitors, while the home side had Perry Ryan ordered off the pitch – despite him leaving on a stretcher.

The Hawks made two changes to the team who won 2-1 at Boreham Wood in midweek.

Christian Nanetti and Sahr Kabba returned, with Chris Arthur and Kelvin Bossman dropping to the substitutes’ bench.

Heavy rain in the hour before kick-off left the Westleigh Park pitch dotted with puddles, but the game was given the go-ahead by the officials.

With the playing surface cutting up from the start and the ball stopping in the puddles, both teams were in for a difficult afternoon.

The Hawks made the brighter start, with Steve Ramsey whipping in a dangerous cross from the right.

Palmer also hooked a tantalising ball beyond the far post, with conditions making it treacherous for defenders.

Full-back Jake Newton skipped past three tackles and progressed into the area before being stopped by a well-timed tackle.

Palmer picked up the first booking of the day after sliding in late on Daryl McMahon as he cleared on the right.

The home side had dominated the opening stages and took a deserved 20th-minute lead.

Ramsey curled in a pin-point free-kick from the right and Palmer rose unmarked to guide his header into the net for his 26th goal of the season.

Four minutes later, Hawks keeper Clark Masters beat away McMahon’s vicious free- kick from the right-hand side of the penalty area.

Kabba sliced a volley wide of the near post as the Hawks remained on top until the half-time break.

With rain continuing to fall, conditions were becoming increasingly farcical as the second half started.

Eddie Hutchinson was forced to sweep the ball behind for a corner when the ball fell dangerously loose in the penalty area from a free-kick.

The game then flared up in the 55th minute when Dover substitute Thomson was shown a straight red card for a scything challenge on Hawks defender Ryan.

Both teams raced in in an ugly confrontation and Ryan, who was stretchered off, was also sent off.

Before the game restarted, Dover also had Harrington sent off – at which point the referee called both managers together.

After a short discussion, the referee abandoned the game on the hour mark, with the Hawks leading 1-0.

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Grant, Hutchinson, Harris, Gotta, Nanetti, Ryan, Palmer, Kabba, Ramsey. Subs: Strugnell, Bossman, Arthur, Monteiro, Jones.

Dover Athletic: Walker, Harrington, Wynter, Rance, Kamara, Stirling, Sessegnon, McMahon, Willock, Ottaway. Subs: Ademola, Bricknell, Webb, Thomson, Raggett, Hook.

Referee: R Hulme (Somerset).