Relief for Bradbury as own goal spares Hawks blushes

Matt Paterson, centre, and Theo Lewis. Picture: Mick Young
Matt Paterson, centre, and Theo Lewis. Picture: Mick Young
Mike Carter

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Lee Bradbury has told of his relief after the Hawks saw their patience rewarded at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

The Ryman League premier division title hopefuls needed a late own goal to see off struggling visitors Burgess Hill Town.

Bradbury watched in disbelief as his hitmen once again failed to live up to their name.

In the opening 45 minutes, they squandered a hatful of golden opportunities.

Matt Paterson was the main culprit – twice missing the target when it looked easier to score.

In the end, James Richmond had to show them just how it was done.

The unlucky Burgess Hill defender stuck out a leg only to divert Rory Williams’ low cross into his own net eight minutes from the end.

There is little doubt the home side deserved the win but once again they made life difficult for themselves.

Bradbury, meanwhile, was happy to see his team return to winning ways at home after two successive draws.

‘I thought it was going to be another one of those days but we got the three points in the end,’ he said.

‘We must have missed six or seven good chances.

‘If you keep doing the right things, keep asking the questions and continue to work hard for each other then you create your own luck. We won because we kept going and kept doing the right things.

‘First and foremost, we defended very well and when they looked like nicking one Ryan Young pulled off a good save.

‘It was one of those days when you grind out a win on a difficult pitch.

‘Although we won the game with an own goal, it was our pressure in the end that created it.

‘It was another game we dominated virtually from start to finish.’

Burgess Hill should have been dead and buried by half-time.

On 23 minutes, rookie keeper James Shaw scuffed a clearance straight to Theo Lewis.

The midfielder rolled the ball perfectly into the path of the unmarked Paterson but the striker shot the wrong side of the post.

Soon afterwards Lewis fired against the crossbar and when the ball came down Paterson somehow sent his header wide of the target from point-blank range.

The striker was replaced by Jason Prior at half-time but Bradbury insisted it was a tactical move.

‘I didn’t take Pato off because of his misses,’ he added.

‘He has done well for us recently and all strikers miss chances.

‘I just felt we needed more of a physical presence and a natural target man like Jason up front.

‘In the second half we kept working hard and eventually it paid off.’

Hawks: Young, Molyneaux, Williams, Stock, Woodford, Harris, Fogden (Hayter, 68min), Lewis, Paterson (Prior, 45min), Rutherford, Tarbuck (Swallow, 81min). Att: 562