Hawks hit back for point

Christian Nanetti grabbed the Hawks' leveller at Dover   Picture: Dave Haines
Christian Nanetti grabbed the Hawks' leveller at Dover Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks produced a magnificent second-half fightback to secure a 2-2 draw against Dover Athletic at the Crabble.

Lee Bradbury’s men looked finished after trailing 2-0 at the break, only for Sahr Kabba and Christian Nanetti to net and claim another vital point in their battle against the drop.

Midfielder Jessie Kewley-Graham was still ill so boss Bradbury went with an unchanged starting line-up.

The home side were without ex-Hawk defender Ian Simpemba who was suspended.

Dover put the Hawks under pressure from the kick-off, with Ed Harris heading away two dangerous crosses from the left.

Harris was then in action at the other end as he nodded a Chris Arthur free-kick past the post.

Dover should have gone ahead after 10 minutes when Billy Bricknell wasted a glorious chance.

A long clearance from the home goalkeeper fell behind the Hawks defenders, leaving Bricknell clear inside the area. With keeper Clark Masters in no-man’s land, though, Bricknell sent his lob wide of the target.

Ollie Palmer did well to release Arthur who cut in from the left and had a firmly-struck shot blocked.

Jake Newton was booked for a foul on the edge of the area.

The Hawks defensive wall stood strong on 24 minutes when Bricknell attempted to curl in a free-kick from 20 yards.

The home side were enjoying the lion’s share of the possession but the Hawks were proving difficult to break down.

Ten minutes before the break Dan Strugnell headed a Cogan shot off the line.

From the resulting corner, Dover took the lead with Tyrone Sterling climbing above the Hawks defence to power home a header.

The Hawks fell further behind a minute before the break and, again, the visitors were undone by a set piece.

Cogan’s 45-yard free-kick from out on the touchline evaded everyone in the area and bounced in off the far post.

The visitors replaced Eddie Hutchinson with Steve Ramsey at the start of the second half.

Masters pulled off a superb one-handed save to keep out Lloyd Harrington’s angled free-kick.

Ramsey then sent a drive over the bar as the Hawks looked for a way into the game.

Kabba got the Hawks back in it on the hour with an excellent individual goal.

The little striker worked his way across the front of the area and beat the keeper with a low shot inside the post.

Nanetti saw his well-struck drive turned behind for a corner as the Hawks started to get on top.

The deserved equaliser came 18 minutes from time after Palmer forced his way to the byline. His ball across goal was returned in by Jake Newton for Nanetti to turn it high into the net.

It had been all Hawks in the second half and it was no more than Bradbury’s team deserved.

Ryan Woodford was sent on for Dan Strugnell in the closing stages.

Substitute Moses Ademola fired narrowly past the far post with Dover looking to pick it back up.

The Hawks came back under pressure in the final 10 minutes and Masters was forced to make a good double save.

But they held on to leave with a well-earned point.

Blue Square Bet South

DOVER ATHLETIC 2 (Sterling, Cogan)

HAWKS 2 (Kabba, Nanetti)

Dover Athletic: Walker, Harrington, Wynter,Webb, Rance, Sterling, Modeste, Thomson, May, Bricknell, Cogan. Subs: Willock, Ademola, Raggett, McMahon, Hook.

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