MANAGERLESS Hawks ended a turbulent week on a positive note with a battling 1-1 Blue Square Bet South draw against 10-man Bromley at Hayes Lane.
With the Hawks, who sacked boss Stuart Ritchie in midweek, trailing 10 minutes from time, caretaker manager Adi Aymes played his trump card in the form of substitute Scott Jones.
And within three minutes of coming on, the young striker headed in a deserved equaliser to give the visitors an important point.
It was welcome relief at the end of a turbulent week in which the Westleigh Park club exited the FA Cup, dropped into the bottom three of the league table and parted company with Ritchie.
The search is under way for a new manager but Aymes, with a little bit of help from ex-boss Shaun Gale, showed the Hawks remain in capable hands for the time being.
Aymes’ no-nonsense approach was clear when he gave Christian Nanetti’s excuses for arriving late for the game short shrift.
‘If I’d put a million pounds on the centre-spot you would have been here at 9am,’ ranted Aymes before banishing Nanetti to the stands.
‘It’s a shame but, unfortunately, when we went out for the warm-up, Christian wasn’t to be seen and I didn’t know if he was going to be there,’ added the caretaker boss.
‘I love watching Christian play but we all have a responsibility to each other and the team.’
Nanetti, who has been the subject of two bids from Blue Square Bet Premier Macclesfield Town in the last fortnight, is now likely to face disciplinary action.
The game began in dramatic fashion, with the odds swinging in favour of the visitors after just five minutes when the home side were reduced to 10 men.
Striker Ollie Palmer was brought down inside the area by defender Liam Harwood, after charging down the home keeper’s attempted clearance.
Harwood received a straight red card but, with the Hawks first-choice penalty-taker sat in the stand, Tony Taggart saw his spot-kick beaten away by the diving Joe Welch.
From that point Bromley packed players behind the ball, content to soak up the pressure and try to hit the Hawks on the break.
‘If we had converted the penalty it would have been a totally different game,’ said Aymes.
‘It is never easy playing against 10 men as we showed in beating Hayes & Yeading recently.
‘We created lots of chances but couldn’t put them away.’
When Bromley did catch the Hawks out on 18 minutes, it was in unusual circumstances.
Jake Newton appeared to handle a Pierre Joseph-Dubois header on the goalline but the referee’s assistant gave a goal and the Hawks full-back remained on the pitch.
It was one-way traffic for the rest of the game and 10 minutes from time Jones finally provided the breakthrough.
‘I was very pleased with the way we played and passed the ball,’ said Aymes.
‘If we carry on showing that heart, determination and desire then we will be okay.’
Hawks: Masters 7, Newton 7, Ryan 8, Bailey 7, Harris 7 (Jones 77m), Woodford 7, Ramsey 7, Dawson 9, Moss 6 (Kabba 70m), Palmer 7, Taggart 8 (Roberts 81m).