TWO spectacular Scott Donnelly goals ensured the Hawks remain unbeaten this pre-season with a 2-0 victory over Eastleigh.
In a game of few clear chances, it took two moments of second-half brilliance from the attacking midfielder to help see off their National League opponents.
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury was quick to praise Donnelly, who recently penned a new two-year deal with the West Leigh Park outfit.
Bradbury said: ‘You’ll struggle to see better goals than those and the season hasn’t even started.
‘It is a massive compliment to the club that he decided to stay here.
‘Scoring 16 goals from midfield for us last year was crucial in a season where we struggled for goals.
‘There were a lot of clubs interested in him, but Scott seems to be enjoying himself here and we are thankful he has decided to stay.’
Hawks looked the stronger side early on, with Donnelly at the centre of everything creative for the hosts.
He delivered several probing through balls, which neither Marvin Morgan or Matt Paterson could take advantage of.
The longer the half went on the more likely Eastleigh looked to break the deadlock.
You’ll struggle to see better goals than those and the season hasn’t even startedLee Bradbury
And the Hawks nearly caused their own downfall when a misplaced Brian Stock pass fell to Jai Reason who squared the ball to James Constable.
It was only the quick reflexes of Hawks keeper Ryan Young that made sure the game stayed level.
The Hawks best effort came from a Donnelly free-kick in the second-half, but his curling effort went past Lewis Noice’s far post.
The game sprung into life when Bradbury introduced Ben Swallow and Harry Medway on 64 minutes.
The pair linked up to create the opening goal.
Medway overlapped Swallow’s run down the left to deliver a deep cross for man of the moment Donnelly to volley the ball first time across goal, past a helpless Noice.
Then came a moment of genius as Donnelly added his second, spotting Noice off his line to hit a half volley, from 15 yards inside his own half, and lob the ball over the stranded keeper.
‘It’s been a great pre-season for us so far, we just need to keep the standard of football high,’ said Bradbury.
The Hawks will look to carry on where they left off on Saturday when the travel to Wicor Rec to face AFC Portchester tonight (7.45pm).