LEE BRADBURY was happy to see the Hawks mark their return to National League South with a 0-0 draw against Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park.
In a rugged contest the visitors were forced to fight a rearguard action for long periods to keep their goal intact.
They didn’t come through the bruising clash totally unscathed, however, as central defender Lee Molyneaux suffered a broken nose.
Defensively the Hawks were excellent and keeper Ryan Young hardly had a save to make. Both defences were on top.
‘We had to defend for our lives at times and it has to be a great point for us,’ said Bradbury.
‘Chippenham were a big strong organised outfit but we defended resolutely.
‘We have got broken noses and everything in there because the players were prepared to put their bodies on the line.
‘They worked hard for each other and showed real heart.
‘A lot of teams will come here and fold under the amount of pressure we were put under.
‘At the other end we had a few half chances from the edge of their box but nothing of note.
‘We can certainly play better but to pick up a point away from home first game is satisfying.
‘Also we achieved it with a number of players missing or not fully fit.’
It was clear from the start that the Hawks were not going to find it easy to play their favoured passing style.
The long grass left on the pitch slowed things up.
Debut making, Portsmouth loanee, Theo Widdrington went for goal straight from the kick-off.
His effort drifted wide and it wasn’t long before the Bluebirds started to get on top.
On 10 minutes Young made his one save of the game, a point-blank stop to keep out a David Pratt header.
Pratt had the ball in the net after 26 minutes but an offside flag cut his celebrations short.
In the second half the home side used the slope and wind to pin the Hawks back for long periods.
Bradbury had special praise for Molyneaux who started because Ryan Woodford was ruled out due to illness.
‘Moly was brilliant and picked up a broken nose for his troubles,’ said Bradbury.
‘During pre-season he had a couple of patchy games where he made mistakes but showed his character and experience out there.
‘He loves a scrap, wants to roll his sleeves up and fight with people.
‘He wants to defend and it suited him perfectly against two strong willing opponents.
‘Whether he makes mistakes or not he always gives 100 per cent and puts his body on the line.’
Hawks: Young, Robinson, Williams, Widdrington, Molyneaux, Harris, Fogden, Lewis, Prior, Rutherford (Barker 67), Carter (Stock 82). Attendance: 668