Young guns on target as Hawks take flight

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Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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The Hawks finally got their Vanarama Conference South campaign up and running with a deserved 3-1 win over Staines Town at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

A midweek visit to a local rifle and pistol shooting club paid dividends as the home strikers hit the target for the first time this season.

After Josh Huggins gave the Hawks the lead, young hitmen Shamir Mullings and JJ Hooper grabbed their first goals for the club.

Manager Lee Bradbury was delighted to see his team finally get off the mark.

And he is keen to see them add to their points tally against Bath City at Twerton Park today (3pm).

‘It’s good to get our first three points and I thought the performance was great,’ said Bradbury.

‘The lads carried out our instructions, particularly in the first half an hour, and got their rewards for it.

‘Our formation worked really well.

‘We started brightly and it was just a matter of time before we scored.

‘Once we did, we could easily have gone on and scored a few more before half-time.

‘The first goal was important because it gave the players that shot of self-belief that they could go on and win the game.

‘We showed a lot of energy and desire throughout the team.

‘You could see how hungry they were to get a first win and it will give us a huge lift after our difficult start.’

When Huggins headed in Nic Ciardini’s 20th-minute free-kick it was the first time the Hawks had been in front this season.

You could see the big difference that made almost immediately and within six minutes a superb piece of finishing from Mullings extended their lead.

Ben Swallow gifted Staines a way back into the game right at the start of the second half with an awful pass.

The ball went to Chase O’Neill who finished well past Ryan Young in the home goal.

Substitute Hooper, however, restored the two-goal lead in the 68th minute – slamming the rebound home after the goalkeeper had kept out his point-blank header.

Bradbury felt the goals from his two strikers will make a big difference.

He said: ‘The goals from our two youngsters up front will do their confidence the world of good.

‘They are going to learn and obviously, the quicker the better for us.

‘They just need to be a little calmer in front of goal and to improve their decision-making around the box.

‘Along with Bradley Bubb they will be great for us.’

Bradbury recognises the importance of building on their first win.

‘It is important now to go to Bath and get something from the game.

‘We want to try to put an unbeaten run together and push up the league.

‘It won’t be easy, though, because Bath are a bit like us – a good team who have had a difficult start.’

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Blanchett, Ryan, Strugnall, Woodford, Swallow (Dutton, 73mins), Donnelly, Mullings, Bubb (Hooper, 58mins), Ciardini (Cummings, 81 mins).

Subs not used: Harris, Monteiro.

Att: 488