Hawks pleased to keep dream alive

Nic Ciardini was sent off. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142721-3)
Nic Ciardini was sent off. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142721-3)
Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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Lee Bradbury praised the battling qualities of the Hawks as they kept their FA Cup ambitions alive with a 0-0 draw at Ryman League premier division Canvey Island.

The fourth round qualifying tie proved a hard-fought, though at times, a pretty 
ordinary affair.

With so much at stake it was an afternoon to dig in and grind out a result.

The visitors did just that to ensure their name went into the hat for tonight’s first round draw (7pm).

Bradbury will then look for the Hawks to finish the job in tomorrow night’s replay at Westleigh Park (7.45pm).

‘We had to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in to deal with the way they play,’ said Bradbury.

‘Canvey showed plenty of fight and made it difficult for us.

‘They are a hard-working, close-knit team and proved hard to break down.

‘I felt we stood up to it well and we are in the hat for the next round which is the most important thing.

‘We can play a lot better, that is for sure, but the wind and the pitch didn’t help.’

On the journey up Bradbury looked to inspire his players by showing the highlights of their historic 2007-08 FA Cup run.

That season the Hawks knocked out York City, Notts County and Swansea City to earn a tie against Liverpool at Anfield.

It was the stuff of dreams as the minnows led twice in front of the Kop before losing 5-2 to the European champions.

The Prospects Stadium on Saturday, however, was a far cry from Anfield – with a sea wall at one end of the ground keeping the River Thames at bay.

The hosts had the better of the opening 45 minutes as the Hawks struggled to come to terms with the conditions.

It was a scrappy affair and that suited the Essex side.

The Hawks looked disjointed as they struggled to put their passing game together.

Chances were few and far between for both teams with John Sands looking the major threat up front for the Gulls.

It was better from the Hawks in the second half but both teams continued to cancel each other out.

Nic Ciardini picked up a second yellow card in stoppage-time but by then the draw was an inevitable conclusion.

‘We couldn’t play our football,’ said Bradbury.

‘The pitch and the wind slowed everything up and Canvey made it hard for us.

‘It wasn’t the prettiest of games to watch but importantly we kept another clean sheet.

‘We had the better chances but were not able to stick them in the net.

‘In the final 20 minutes, I thought we looked fitter than them and could have nicked it.

‘In the end we saw the game out comfortably to bring them back to our place.

‘The job is far from done, though, because they showed they won’t just roll over.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Stock, Ciardini, Donnelly, Bubb (Mullings, 73min), Hooper (Ryan, 90min), Huggins. Att: 642