Wes Fogden fired the Hawks to a 1-1 draw against Dover Athletic in a Blue Square South contest the visitors deserved to win.
The terrier-like Fogden struck with an outstanding finish five minutes before half-time but the home side grabbed an equaliser, 14 minutes from time, which was harsh on the Hawks.
Manager Shaun Gale had mixed feelings – delighted with the performance but disappointed his Hawks did not win.
‘It should have been three points,’ said Gale.
‘I feel sorry for the lads because I thought they were outstanding and played some terrific football, particularly in the first half.
‘We should have been out of sight before they scored but once again we failed to kill our opponents off.
‘Dover know that they have been let off the hook.
‘Full credit to the team, though, because Dover is never an easy place to come and get a result.
‘But we made their big-money players look ordinary and stopped the rot away from home.’
The home side have made an indifferent start.
Unrest in the home camp between the chairman, manager and the fans was evident from the start.
The Hawks set about exploiting this by taking the game to them from the off.
Dover looked uneasy against the pace of Craig Braham-Barrett.
The winger left his marker trailing on 17 minutes and set up Fogden, who headed a clear chance wide.
Despite the miss, Fogden kept snapping away at the Dover defence and came in for some rough treatment as a result.
Remarkably, it was the Hawks who picked up the game’s only three bookings with Fogden’s assailants merely getting a lecture.
Battered and bruised, Fogden exacted his revenge in the 37th minute, though, with a superb individual goal, poking the ball into the far corner after deceiving two defenders on the edge of the area. It was no more than the visitors deserved after outplaying Dover in the opening 45 minutes.
Fogden missed a another good chance nine minutes into the second half and, though Dover came more into the game, the Hawks continued to look comfortable at the back.
The 76th-minute equaliser came out of the blue when a long clearance was missed by Chris Arthur and substitute Donovan Simmonds buried a good shot past Lyall Beazely.
‘They threw everything at us in the second half but apart from their goal and one other chance, our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make,’ said Gale.
‘We displayed the consistency of performance we have been asking of the players.
‘We have all come under criticism after our poor start and we saw a reaction. The players are just so disappointed that they didn’t win after dominating the game.
‘The way we opened Dover up at times was fantastic.
‘We all know what we are going to get from Wes Fogden and he ran his socks off as they all did.
‘He wasn’t given much protection, though, and was kicked from pillar to post.
‘Wes scored a great goal but knows he could have had another two.
‘The feeling is that it was two points dropped.’
Hawks: Bazeley 7; Newton 7, Arthur 7, Ryan 8, Pearce 8, Woodford 8, Fogden 9, Barrett 8, Peacock 7 (Jones 81mins), Igoe 7, Braham-Barrett 8.