HAWKS took apart struggling Bishop’s Stortford with an emphatic 4-1 success at West Leigh Park.
Giuseppe Sole, Jake Newton, Sammy Igoe and Wes Fogden all found the net as the relegation-battling visitors were put to the sword.
And the Hawks could easily have added a few more, hitting the woodwork twice and missing a number of other clear chances.
‘I challenged my players before the game to take our chances and they rose to it,’ said Gale.
‘It was a convincing win.
‘At half-time I gave them another target of keeping a clean sheet and the only disappointment was that we failed in that, conceding a poor goal again.
‘I felt we answered the critics, having played well in the past two games for no reward.
‘You can only beat what is in front of you and we put in another good professional performance.
‘It was pleasing because we had a good shape about us, with lots of pace going forwards causing them all sorts of problems.
‘We do create a lot of chances and if we can be clinical in the final third then we will win more games.
‘It was comfortable and, apart from in the opening minutes, Nathan Ashmore didn’t have a save to make in our goal.
‘The only problems we had were those caused by ourselves.’
In a lively opening, defender Sam Pearce missed an open goal from three yards out before Ashmore pulled off a good save to push a fierce drive around the post.
With Igoe and Fogden in superb form the home side took control and deservedly took a 16th-minute lead.
Fogden played Steve Ramsey in down the left channel and his quickly-delivered cross-shot was parried away by Ross Kitteridge in the visitor’s goal.
Igoe was on it in a flash and returned the ball low across the area for the onrushing Sole to hammer home a low shot.
Five minutes before the break the Hawks doubled their lead with a rare Newton goal at the end of a lightning counter-attack.
Igoe again was involved, switching play quickly across to Sole whose half-blocked shot rolled to Newton, showing terrific energy to get up in support, for an easy tap-in five yards out.
‘Leading 2-0 at the break it was important that we came out and scored again to make sure they were dead and buried,’ said Gale.
‘We did just that before giving away a simple goal.’
Fogden hit the post in the first minute of the second period but a minute later Igoe made no mistake with a cleanly hit half-volley through a crowded goalmouth into the bottom corner.
The usually rock-solid Ian Simpemba then gifted the visitors a brief lifeline in the 53rd minute when he inexplicably ducked under a forward ball allowing Mitch Hahn to run on and easily beat Ashmore.
The Hawks, however, quickly killed off any aspirations the visitors had of a comeback, ensuring there is plenty of work to do for newly-appointed former Spurs keeper Ian Walker, who was in charge of Stortford for the first time.
Igoe was again involved as, on 62 minutes, the classy midfielder looped a cross to the far post where Sole headed the ball down for Fogden to volley home.
‘Sammy was excellent and showed his class,’ said Gale.
‘He showed great vision and was involved in all the goals.
‘We have never doubted his quality, even though he has had a stop-start season mainly due to injury.
‘We will need all our big players playing well if we are going to hit that bit of form at the right time.
‘The aim is to keep going and pick up as many as we can between now and the end of the season.
‘Then we will see where we end up.’
The Hawks continue their hectic end-of-season schedule with a visit to Thurrock tomorrow night.
Hawks: Ashmore 7; Newton 8, McDonald 7, Igoe 9, Pearce 8 (Tyrrell 82mins), Simpemba 7, Fogden 9 (Scott 78mins), Hinshelwood 7 (Selley 54mins – 7), Sole 8, Tiryaki 7, Ramsey 8.