Tired Hawks get a pasting

Perry Ryan's fine goal proved scant consolation for the Hawks  Picture: Dave Haines
Perry Ryan's fine goal proved scant consolation for the Hawks Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks could have few complaints as they slipped to a 5-1 defeat at second-placed Salisbury City.

A poor first-half performance left the visitors trailing 2-0 at the break and, though Perry Ryan scored a spectacular goal, they ended up well beaten.

The visitors made three changes with Pedro Monteiro, Dan Strugnell and Ryan returning to the starting line-up.

The home side started the game knowing a win would guarantee them at least runners-up spot in Blue Square Bet South.

Steve Ramsey ballooned an early chance over the top after Chris Arthur pulled the ball back from the byline.

The Hawks then found themselves behind after just six minutes.

Goalkeeper Dan Thomas beat out Elliott Frear’s stinging volley from the far side of the area but the rebound fell to Brian Dutton. The Whites captain struck a low shot just inside the far post, giving Thomas little chance.

Almost immediately Ollie Palmer volleyed wide from a driven Arthur cross.

Frear rifled a 20-yard shot narrowly over the top as the hosts continued to look dangerous going forward.

Jamie White almost turned a shot in from six yards but Ed Harris managed to deflect the ball around the post.

The Hawks were almost caught out by a quickly-taken free-kick but, somehow, Jake Newton managed to hook White’s shot away as it was crossing the goalline.

Harris had a lucky escape when White snatched his shot wide from his poor back header which fell well short of Thomas.

It was the poorest half from the Hawks for some time and it was no surprise when they fell further behind on 35 minutes.

The visitors were slow to react when the ball was sliced out to their wide flank and, from the cross, Chris McPhee’s header took a deflection past Thomas.

Lee Bradbury sent Sahr Kabba on in place of Monteiro at the start of the second half.

The visitors were needing to show a big improvement if they were to get back into the game.

Those hopes were dashed when Salisbury needed just three minutes of the second period to add to their lead.

Newton and Strugnell both had chances to clear deep inside their own area before Ryan Brett crashed a shot high into the net from a tight angle.

Ryan restored some hope for the visitors on 56 minutes when he hammered a dipping 25-yard shot past Mark Scott in the home goal.

The Hawks perked up a little boosted by the goal and started to enjoy a bit more possession.

City remained threatening and Stuart Sinclair burst to the byline before pulling a dangerous ball across goal.

On 70 minutes, Academy defender Joe Noakes replaced Arthur but it was White who went close again for the home side.

The Whites sealed the win when substitute Dan Fitchett easily tucked the ball past Thomas after being put through by fellow sub Charles Ademenu.

Fitchett piled on the misery in stoppage-time, cutting in from the left and beating Thomas with a low shot.

Blue Square Bet South

SALISBURY CITY 5 (Dutton, McPhee, Brett, Fitchett 2)

HAWKS 1 (Ryan)

Salisbury City: Scott, Wilson, Clarke, Matthews, Brett, Sinclair, Dutton, Wellard, Frear, McPhee, White. Subs: Fitchett, Udoji, Lewis, Ademeno, Hart.

Hawks: Thomas, Newton, Grant, Monteiro, Harris, Strugnell, Ramsey, Ryan, Palmer, Nanetti, Arthur. Subs: Gotta, Bossman, Noakes, Kabba, Jones.

Referee: N Lugg.