Hawks squad stretched to breaking point

Hawks boss Shaun Gale, left, and his assistant Steve Johnson. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks boss Shaun Gale, left, and his assistant Steve Johnson. Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Pearce scored for Bognor in their match today. Picture: Tommy McMillan

Bognor get first win in six months

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Lady luck was on the beleaguered Hawks’ side to give them a share of the spoils in the 0-0 draw against Eastbourne Borough at Westleigh Park.

The home side rode their luck on a number of occasions as the visitors dominated possession, only to be denied a deserved three points by the woodwork on four occasions.

Finances are tight at Westleigh Park and it showed in the thin nature of Shaun Gale’s squad.

With World Cup commitments, suspension and injury robbing the Hawks of three senior players, Gale’s options were limited.

Jake Newton was in Guyana, helping them beat Trinidad & Tobago in the World Cup qualifiers, Perry Ryan was suspended and Sammy Igoe ruled out by a groin strain.

On the bench, Gale had Academy prospect Bradey Norton, untried Carlos Geteski, a far from fully fit Bobby Hopkinson and ex-Premiership striker Vincent Pericard, who is yet to make an impression.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the manager found himself forced to reshuffle his pack again before half-time as Craig Braham-Barrett and Sam Pearce limped out of the action.

Gale would love to add to his squad but it seems the finances are unavailable to do so.

‘In an ideal world I would love to bring in a few new faces but we are in a recession,’ said Gale.

‘Money is tight and we can’t do that.’

‘It’s where we are at the moment and just have to get on with it.

‘What we won’t do is put the football club into any financial jeopardy.

‘If that means we have to put youngsters out there and the board are happy with that, then so am I.

‘You can’t punch above your weight financially, and going back over the last couple of years maybe that is what we did a little bit.

‘I am not going to dispute that we rode our luck a bit but we are down too the rock-bottom, barebones in our squad.’

Borough took charge from the start and hit the woodwork twice before the break.

On seven minutes, Gary Charman glanced a header from a corner against the far post, and on the half-hour Ben Watson’s long-range drive beat Lyall Beazely all ends up, only to rebound off the upright.

As it was the Hawks felt they were hard done by on the stroke of half-time as Scott Jones’ effort was ruled out by an offside flag.

Borough resumed their superiority after the break and were denied twice more by the woodwork.

First Watson’s header smacked against the outside of the near post and ex-Hawks defender Gary Elphick’s header, from a corner, crashed down off the underside of the bar.

Borough substitute Ross Treleaven should have won it for the visitors at the death but, totally unmarked, headed wide at the far post.

‘A number of our players including the front two and our wide players have hardly any experience of playing at this level,’ said Gale

‘Steve Ramsey wasn’t even fit enough to be out there and we knew it would be difficult.

‘But we kept going and had a go.

‘We also felt we had a good goal disallowed and went close in a few goal-mouth scrambles.

‘Possession doesn’t win you games although we have had to ride our luck against an experienced side.

‘We have come out with a point and for the effort the players put in it is a deserved one.

‘Admittedly our ball retention was poor at times and we have had to defend well to earn our luck.

‘They took control of midfield and pinned us back.

‘It is disappointing not to get three points at home but with the side we had out I can accept it.

‘We had square pegs in round holes in places but that is the situation we are in.’

Hawks: Beazeley 8; Hinshelwood 6, McDonald 7, Ramsey 6, Pearce 6 (Holland 33mins – 7), Woodford 8, Braham-Barrett 5 (Norton 22mins – 6), Peacock 5, Jones 6, Whyte 6 (Geteski 85mins), Palmer 6.