Palmer ends goal drought and proves Hawks hunger

Ollie Palmer celebrates with striker partner Sahr Kabba after scoring twice against Sutton United on Saturday
Ollie Palmer celebrates with striker partner Sahr Kabba after scoring twice against Sutton United on Saturday
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Striker Ollie Palmer celebrated his new Hawks contract in style by breaking his goal drought in the 3-0 Blue Square Bet South win over Sutton United on Saturday.

The youngster ended his barren run of nine games without a goal by scoring a brace in the victory at Westleigh Park, with new boy Kelvin Bossman also on the mark.

Courted by a number of Football League clubs at the beginning of the year, Palmer ended speculation over his future by signing a new two-and-a-half-year deal with the Hawks in midweek.

He still dreams of progressing into the professional ranks but believes extending his stay on the south coast can help him achieve that.

‘I love being at this club and they have helped me out a lot,’ said Palmer.

‘Signing the new deal is the right thing to do and here is where my loyalties lie.

‘I feel privileged that other clubs have shown an interest in me and put bids forward.

‘Playing in the Football League is every boy’s dream and I am still working towards achieving that.

‘The gaffer (Lee Bradbury) and the chairman know that but any move has to be right for me and the club.

‘Lee had a fantastic Football League career and there is still so much that I can learn from him.

‘My focus is now on trying to help this great little team of ours kick on.’

Although Palmer’s opening goal in the win against Sutton contained an element of good fortune, it came about after some hard graft.

The visitors had made the livelier start but on 38 minutes Palmer charged down goalkeeper Tom Lovelock’s attempted clearance.

The ball could have gone anywhere but, to Palmer’s delight, it rebounded back past the keeper and into the unguarded net.

United continued to look a threat going forward but Hawks goalkeeper Clark Masters continued his recent inspired form.

Ed Harris and Dan Strugnell remained strong in the heart of the defence and young full-back Alex Grant didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon.

And it was Grant who helped tighten the Hawks’ grip on 57 minutes when he started the move which led to the home side’s second goal.

He found Sahr Kabba with a delightful forward ball, which then allowed the little front man to pick out Palmer’s perfectly-timed diagonal run with another well-weighted reverse pass.

Palmer needed no second invitation and coolly rolled the ball past the advancing keeper and into the net.

Debut-making substitute Kelvin Bossman provided the icing on the cake with a third Hawks goal in stoppage-time.

‘Hopefully with a couple more big performances we can climb higher up the league,’ said Palmer.

‘Who knows what might happen once we get into the top half?

‘As long as we keep competing, there is no reason why we still can’t get in and amongst the play-offs.

‘Things are going well and we will remain positive.’

Hawks: Masters 8, Newton 7, Arthur 7, Grant 8, Harris 8, Strugnell 8, Nanetti 7 (Hinshelwood, 83mins), Kewley-Graham 7 (Hutchinson 7, 64mins), Palmer 8, Kabba 7 (Bossman, 74mins), Ryan 7. Subs not used: Woodford, Ighorae.

Att: 683