Johnson: We need to be more clinical

Steven Ramsey goes for goal against Basingstoke  Picture: Dave Haines
Steven Ramsey goes for goal against Basingstoke Picture: Dave Haines
Wes Fogden drew a good save from the Hampton & Richmond keeper in a rare attempt on goal. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Mixed feelings for Hawks boss after stalemate

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Hawks caretaker boss Steve Johnson admits his side will need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to avoid relegation from Blue Square Bet South.

The fourth-from-bottom Hawks end their frustrating away campaign with a must-win clash against fellow relegation battlers Farnborough at The Rushmoor Stadium tomorrow.

Two successive home defeats have left the Hawks just one point above the relegation zone, with nearest rivals Hampton & Richmond Borough having a game in hand.

In both the Salisbury and Basingstoke defeats, the Hawks created chances but failed to stick them away.

That’s a worrying statistic, given the Hawks’ plight, and is something Johnson is keen to improve on for the trip to Farnborough.

‘We must stick our chances away,’ he said.

‘In both our past two games we have started brightly and put our opponents under a lot of pressure.

‘If we had been able to capitalise on that and score the goals we deserved then it would have been a totally different story.

‘But you can see the longer we went without scoring the more anxious and nervous we got.

‘We started to hurry and snatch at things.

‘It is vital we maintain our composure and quality because there are going to be spells in games when things don’t go our way.

‘I have been pleased with our performances other than that and we don’t need our approach to be a lot different.’

Farnborough are just one place and two points above the Hawks after having five points deducted by the Football Association last week for alleged financial irregularities by their previous owners.

The north Hampshire club appealed the decision but it has subsequently been turned down.

That may work against the Hawks, though, with Johnson believing their hosts will be doubly determined to avoid being dragged further into a relegation dogfight.

‘I recently watched Farnborough fight back from a two-goal deficit to win at Maidenhead,’ said Johnson.

‘They showed they were up for the fight and were very resilient.

‘It won’t be a comfortable afternoon because they won’t be giving us the points on a plate.

‘I am expecting a real dogfight and we will have to be prepared to fight fire with fire.

‘It is dog eat dog now and we will have to be up for it.’

Influential midfielder Sammy Igoe and central defender Sam Pearce return to the Hawks squad after recovering from illness.

Hawks: Thomas, Newton, Dolan, Woodford, Arthur, Hinshelwood, Hutchinson, Ramsey, Nanetti, Palmer, Jones, Thompson, Hopkinson, Igoe, Pearce, McDonald, Holland.