Hawks left sweating on the weather

Giuseppe Sole is suspended for the game against Dartford
Giuseppe Sole is suspended for the game against Dartford
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 are looking to the skies in the hope they can stage their Blue Square South clash against Dartford at West Leigh Park (3pm).

Any more rain between now and tomorrow could again put the match in serious jeopardy.

With Dartford setting off mid-morning for the game, an early pitch inspection at West Leigh Park is expected tomorrow.

The Hawks are hoping the weather gods will be kind to them for once after their two previous home games suffered last-minute postponements.

Collapsed drains under the pitch means it is difficult to get rid of any excess water – areas that have been deemed dangerous by match officials.

These loss of games, coupled with two consecutive defeats, have proved major blows to the Hawks’ play-off ambitions.

They are currently 15 points adrift of fifth-placed Welling United, with four games in hand.

The Hawks, though, still have 18 games to play in the final two months of the season, making it a tall order.

Manager Shaun Gale admits the situation is far from ideal.

‘We need to get the game (against Dartford) on and we need to win it,’ said Gale.

‘The pitch covers are on but it is still very wet.

‘On Monday night the ball rolled and bounced but the referee wasn’t happy about a couple of soft areas.

‘It is causing us a major headache in lots of ways and is extremely frustrating.

‘Financially, it is making it very difficult for the club.

‘We have nowhere to train and the state of the pitch doesn’t suit our style of play.

‘We like to get the ball down and play football but the pitch isn’t conducive to that.’

The Hawks have defender Sam Pearce back in the squad after a one-match ban and also hope to have Leon Cashman available from his Royal Navy duties.

One area of concern for Gale, though, is the lack of form displayed by his strikeforce.

The one forward finding the net, Giuseppe Sole, is suspended, leaving misfiring pair Manny Williams and Mustafa Tiryaki up front.

‘We need them to come to the party and start scoring goals,’ said Gale.

‘On their day they are the best in our league but at the moment they are not producing the goods.

‘If we had taken our chances, a lot of the games we ended up losing would have been dead and buried beforehand.’

Dartford are unpredictable opponents, losing heavily at home last weekend before winning at Dorchester in midweek.

The two sides drew their earlier encounter on the opening day of the season and currently have the same number of points – although the Hawks have games in hand.

‘It is a must-win game for us if we are to keep up our ambitions of a play-off place,’ said Gale.

‘It is still a creditable task but we have to start winning on a regular basis.’

Hawks: Ashmore, Howe, Newton, Pearce, Cashman, Simpemba, McDonald, Selley, Keehan, Hinshelwood, Ramsey, Fogden, Tiryaki, Williams, Igoe, Martin.