Hawks saluted for effort on ‘cow field’

Hawks striker Matt Tubbs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171689-1)
Hawks striker Matt Tubbs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171689-1)
Sam Pearce Picture: Neil Marshall

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The Hawks’ pitch was once again the centre of attention as they fought out a 0-0 National League South draw with Braintree on Saturday.

The club spent £3,000 last week in an attempt to solve a number of problem areas on the Westleigh Park surface.

They brought in new German technology to try to improve the drainage at one end of the pitch.

While the process helped the game go ahead – to the surprise of many, persistent rain continued to fall.

Once the game started the pitch cut up badly leaving the teams to fight it out on what Hawks boss Lee Bradbury described as nothing more than a ‘cow field’.

It was a credit to both sides they produced the game they did, with the Hawks coming closest to winning it in the latter stages.

Bradbury said: ‘It was a slog for both teams. The pitch was the real winner.

‘We did what we could. We worked hard and tried to create opportunities on a very difficult pitch.

‘At the other end we defended well to keep a clean sheet against a team that has scored a lot of goals.

‘Our goalkeeper hardly had a save to make and we have had three good chances to win it.

‘We hit the crossbar and had two other opportunities late on.

‘As the game went on we got stronger and were brave putting another centre-forward on the pitch to try to win the game.

‘I am pleased with the application and attitude shown by the players in very difficult conditions.

‘And with leaders Dartford, losing it is a point gained.’

It was obvious the game would be a test of physical endurance.

Braintree started the stronger as the Hawks struggled to brush away the cobwebs of a three-week lay-off in the league.

They went closest to breaking the deadlock with a header that flew just wide from a corner.

Slowly but surely the Hawks gained a foothold and both teams continued to graft after the break with defences remaining on top.

In the final 10 minutes the Hawks grabbed the initiative and went close to snatching the win.

Matt Tubbs fired a shot against the top of the crossbar.

Substitute Alfie Rutherford and Tubbs also had further chances.

‘Our fitness levels were good and we have worked hard,’ added Bradbury.

‘They showed the willingness to run around on what can only be described as a cow field.’

Thankfully the pitch now has a two-week break in which to recover.

Pompey’s reserves were scheduled to play Leicester City at Westleigh Park on Tuesday night but the game has been switched to Bognor’s Nyewood Lane (7pm).

The Rocks were beaten 2-0 by Truro City on home turf on Saturday.

Both goals arrived in the final 11 minutes of the fixture.

Bognor have only won two league games at Nyewood Lane this term and are six points adrift of safety.

Hawks: Young, Rose, Woodford, Harris, Williams, Fogden, Stock (Carter, 65min), Lewis, Tarbuck (Rutherford, 65min), Prior (Hayter, 79min), Tubbs. Att: 654