Rutherford at the double as holders Hawks progress to Hampshire Senior Cup quarter finals with 3-0 victory at Gosport Borough
Alfie Rutherford scored twice as Hawks maintained their chase for a third successive Hampshire Senior Cup triumph with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Gosport Borough.
Top scorer Jonah Ayunga was also on target as Paul Doswell’s men set up a quarter final trip to either AFC Totton or Southampton.
On a rainswept night - and in a tie which Doswell had claimed beforehand that ‘neither side wanted’ - the hosts started the brighter of the teams but were eventually undone by class finishing.
Rutherford scored the winning goal in last season’s HSC final against Basingstoke Town.
But he was one of only two players in the Hawks squad for that game who were in action for the holders at Privett Park - midfielder Chris Paul was the other.
Indeed, there were more members of that winning Hawks squad in action for Gosport - Mike Carter, Rory Williams, Ben Dudzinski and Ryan Woodford!
Marley Ridge - who had helped Hawks win the 2017/18 HSC against Blackfield & Langley - was also in the home starting XI.
And, in a bright start by Gosport, Ridge came close to a 17th minute opener with a shot which flashed just past a post.
Hawks academy keeper Ollie Eyres was certainly the busier of the two keepers in the first half hour - gathering a Charlie Kennedy header from a free kick and saving Liam Robinson’s 20-yard drive.
It was somewhat against the run of play that Rutherford fired Hawks ahead on 36 minutes.
He brushed off a challenge before advancing into the penalty area and rifling a low shot past Dudzinski.
Chris Flood was handed Gosport’s best chance of the night a few minutes later. After Sam Argent had slide tackled Eyres, forcing him to lose possession, Flood had a sight of goal but his shot was blocked on the line by a covering Hawks defender.
Rutherford effectively sealed the tie nine minutes into the second half, latching onto a long through ball, rounding Dudzinski and calmly rolling an angled shot into an empty net.
George Barker provided some of Gosport’s best attacking moments, and he was brought down for a free kick 25 yards out. In a central position, Williams would have fancied his chances - but his shot clipped the top of the defensive wall and out for a corner.
Gosport boss Lee Molyneaux - a former Hawks favourite - rang the second half changes, introducing reserve regulars Alpay Ali, Matt Morris and Luke Acurch. That was in addition to handing David Jerrard - 12 goals in 10 reserve games this season - his first senior start.
But Hawks had a far stronger bench, boasting Simon Walton, Anthony Straker and Ayunga.
And it was the latter - the National League South’s joint top scorer - who sealed Hawks’ passage into the last eight on 68 minutes.
Having only been on the pitch a matter of minutes, he picked up the ball on the edge of the Gosport penalty area and flashed in a fierce left-footed shot that was in the back of the net before Dudzinski could get down to it.
It was a moment of high quality on a night where, despite the fact it was a competitive derby match, there were few crunching tackles or memorable attacking moves to lift the atmosphere a few notches.
The closest Gosport came to a consolation was Jerrard heading straight at Eyres and both Ali and Jerrard finding good space at the far post but failing to score.
Ali lashed a shot wide while Gerrard saw his effort saved.
At the other end, Brad Tarbuck fired in a fierce 20-yarder that Dudzinski tipped over the bar.
Gosport: Dudzinski, Williams, Carter, Woodford, Kennedy, Ridge. Barker, Robinson, Argent, Jerrard, Flood. subs used: Ali, Morris, Achurch.
Hawks: Eyres, Read, Magri, Cook, Flannigan, Tarbuck, Paul, Taylor, Bailey, Dennett, Rutherford. Subs used: Ayunga, Straker, Harnett-Balkwill.