Hawks old boy returns to pile on early misery

Former Hawks captain Jamie Collins   Picture: Dave Haines
Former Hawks captain Jamie Collins Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks continued their poor start to the season with a 2-0 National League South defeat by Sutton United at Westleigh Park last night.

A lacklustre first half left the home side trailing to Dan Fitchett’s goal eight minutes before the break.

To lose the first two games is hugely disappointing.

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury

And the visitors sealed their win on 70 minutes, when ex-Hawks captain Jamie Collins headed home from a corner.

For manager Lee Bradbury, it was another disappointing display following his side’s opening-day 3-0 reverse at Bishop’s Stortford.

And the Hawks boss pulled no punches in his damning assessment of the home side’s 90-minute showing.

‘We lost too many battles all over the pitch and conceded disappointing goals,’ said Bradbury.

‘We have to address that and quickly.

‘To lose the first two games is hugely disappointing.

‘Sutton were more physical and direct than they have ever been, which we found difficult to deal with.

‘We didn’t get our full-backs on the ball anywhere near enough – they did and that made the difference.’

Bradbury made just one change to his starting line-up, with James Hayter replacing Ben Swallow.

But an uninspiring opening 20 minutes from the Hawks allowed Sutton to take charge.

The visitors created a series of chances as the Hawks lived dangerously.

On 13 minutes, it took a terrific one- handed save from Ryan Young to keep the home side on level terms.

Sutton broke down the right and when the ball was laid back, Glen Southam saw his drive palmed out of the top corner by the goalkeeper.

The Hawks looked vulnerable at the back when another effort from Fitchett was deflected past the post.

Scott Donnelly produced the first shot for the home side on 24 minutes, forcing a low save from Ross Worner.

But it was no surprise when visitors Sutton took a 37th-minute lead.

The Hawks were exposed down the right and when the first-time cross was whipped in, Fitchett scored with a point-blank downward header.

The Hawks looked to pick it up at the start of the second period and on 53 minutes Matt Paterson almost bulldozed his way through a packed goalmouth.

Worner then had to claw out a low Brian Dutton cross from the byline as the home side started to offer more of a threat.

The Hawks made a double change on 67 minutes sending on Dan Blanchett and Nic Ciardini for Warren Cummings and Marvin Morgan.

Young denied Southam for the second time when he tipped over a fierce 25-yard drive.

The reprieve was short-lived, as from the resulting corner, ex-Hawks Anfield legend Collins headed home.

Bradbury’s stunned side had plenty of possession in the closing stages but for the second game running couldn’t find a goal.

The Hawks boss believes the hosts paid the price for a slow start to the game.

Bradbury said: ‘We didn’t start very well and in the first half didn’t display a lot of energy.

‘We had to go behind again before we came out of the traps.

‘The players have to give it a go for 90 minutes and not just 45.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Cummings, Stock, Dutton, Molyneaux, Hayter, Donnelly, Paterson, Morgan, Clifton. Subs: Swallow, Ciardini, Blanchett, Medway, Monthe