Relief for Bradbury as Donnelly makes point

Scott Donnelly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143197-14)
Scott Donnelly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143197-14)
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Scott Donnelly once again came to the Hawks’ rescue with a trademark long-range strike to force a 1-1 draw at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.

With his side trailing just after the hour mark, the midfielder thundered home a 30-yard drive to salvage a vital Vanarama Conference South point.

It was the Hawks’ first meaningful shot on goal and in truth they had not looked like scoring.

The goal woke them up, though, and by the end they had done enough to deserve a share of the spoils.

Boss Lee Bradbury was happy to escape with a point and admitted his team can play a lot better.

‘Our goal, when it came, was from our first shot on target but that is something Donners is capable of,’ said the Westleigh Park manager.

‘He has scored some important goals for us this season and again he has pulled a 30-yarder out of the bag.

‘After that I thought we might go on and nick it but I will accept it is a decent point.

‘Hemel came into the game unbeaten in their last 11 at home, so in the end I am happy with the draw.

‘In the first half we were not fantastic, to be honest, and things were said at half-time.

‘Although we had the extra man in midfield, our opponents still won too many of the second balls.

‘I thought we were far too negative and defensive in the first half allowing them get on the front foot, pressure us and make it difficult.

‘Playing up the slope and against the wind made it difficult for us to get out for a spell.’

After a bright opening the Hawks found themselves pushed back and it was the Tudors who reigned for most of the opening 45 minutes.

Midfielder Jordan Parkes put in a regal performance and led the Hawks on a merry dance.

And it was no surprise when the Tudors took a 35th-minute lead with Nicke Kabamba thumping home a near-post header.

‘Their goal was disappointing because we were slow to stop a cross coming into our area and got punished,’ said Bradbury.

The Hawks boss also breathed a huge sigh of relief when the hosts were denied by the woodwork either side of the interval.

Goalkeeper Ryan Young also made a couple of excellent saves to prevent Hemel disappearing out of sight.

Once Donnelly struck, however, it became a far more even contest.

‘The players took the things said at half-time on board and in the second half I thought we did much better,’ said Bradbury,

‘The way they were playing was crying out for two wingers, so I changed our shape.

‘I said to the players afterwards when we look back at the end of the season we will think what a good point this was.’

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Blanchett, Stock, Dutton, Harris, Ryan (Ciardini, 57mins), Donnelly, Wright (Mullings, 86mins), Bubb (Hooper, 57mins), Huggins