Hawks see red as Bradbury vents anger at ref

Nic Ciardini, left.    Picture: Allan Hutchings
Nic Ciardini, left. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Lee Bradbury vented his anger at referee Ian Cooper after the Hawks were reduced to nine men in a controversial 1-0 Vanarama Conference South defeat against Concord Rangers at Westleigh Park last night.

The home side fell behind after just 45 seconds and then paid the price for ill discipline when both Nic Ciardini and Josh Huggins were sent off.

That meant a fourth red card in three games for Hawks, but afterwards, a furious Bradbury insisted there was no disciplinary problem at the club as he launched a scathing attack on the Rochester official’s performance.

He said: ‘That’s probably the worst refereeing display I have ever seen.

‘Nic Ciardini’s sending off was a joke.

‘It was a disappointing evening, which started with us conceding a poor goal in the opening seconds.

‘But as for discipline, I’m not sure how much more we can do.

‘In the last three games, we’ve had four red cards – none of which I feel were sending offs.’

The Hawks made the worst possible start when Tony Stokes nicked the ball past Pedro Monteiro – drafted in for his first league appearance of the season in place of Ed Harris – in the opening minute, before racing on to easily tuck his shot past Ryan Young at his near post.

The hosts gradually regained their composure, though, to put the visitors under increasing pressure.

Ben Swallow looked their biggest threat on the right taking on and going past the retreating Concord defenders.

Despite having the lions share of possession, though, the Hawks found it difficult to break down the uncompromising Beachboys defence.

The home side’s first shot on target arrived on 31 minutes when Alan Connell fired straight at goalkeeper Josh Vickers.

It was becoming increasingly physical and niggly as the interval approached with both teams picking up bookings.

JJ Hooper smashed a shot over the top after being teed up by Connell but chances were few and far between.

Connell, still looking for his first Hawks goal, hooked an early chance over at the start of the second half.

Young then came to the home side’s rescue on 55 minutes when he saved expertly with his legs to prevent Sam Collins from extending Concord’s lead.

When the Hawks responded, Vickers touched Scott Donnelly’s 25 yard free-kick round the post.

Bradbury made a double change on 61 minutes sending on Ben Wright and Shamir Mullings for Connell and Swallow.

Bu on 65 minutes, Ciardini picked up his second yellow card to get sent off for the second game running.

And within two minutes, the Hawks found themselves down to nine men when Huggins received a straight red card from referee Cooper for a tackle.

Huggins was the fourth Hawks player sent off in the last three games begging questions of discipline in the home side’s ranks.

The situation wasn’t helped by the increasing play-acting of the visitors in the tackle but the hosts continued to fall into the trap.

The bad feeling continued at the final whistle when a number of players displayed their frustration.

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Blanchett (Ryan, 71), Stock, Strugnell, Monteiro, Swallow (Mullings, 61), Donnelly, Hooper, Connell (Wright, 61), Ciardini. Subs not used: Bubb, Cummings