Strike duo combine as Hawks soar to cup final
The Hawks kept their bid to become county champions on track by beating Basingstoke Town 2-0 in the Hampshire Senior Cup semi-final at Westleigh Park.
Second-half goals from strikers Matt Paterson and Shamir Mullings earned the home side a place in the final.
The Hawks will meet Winchester City in the final at Southampton’s St Mary’s stadium next month.
Manager Lee Bradbury praised the way his side battled both the elements and their opponents.
‘I thought it was a job well done,’ he said.
‘It was a solid enough performance and one of two halves really.
‘In the first half with the wind and rain coming straight down the pitch they penned us in a bit.
‘For us it was just about getting to half-time with a clean sheet and then putting a stranglehold on them after the break.
‘I thought we did that well, created some decent chances and scored a couple of good goals.
‘They remained dangerous with their quick counter-attacks but I felt we dealt with them well.
‘Ryan Young made a couple of good saves but it was comfortable in the end.’
Basingstoke offered the first threat on four minutes when full-back Tom Bird whipped a vicious ball across the face of goal.
The visitors started the stronger and Hawks goalkeeper Young had to push over a rising shot from Rob Rice.
Mullings had the home side’s first chance on 16 minutes, only to fire straight at goalkeeper after going clear.
It was a miserable night for football in the swirling wind and rain and both teams struggled to find any coherence.
The Hawks’ best moves were coming down the left where Harry Medway was offering on the overlap.
Though there was plenty of endeavour there was little real quality on display.
The Hawks broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half with a well worked set piece goal.
Scott Donnelly curled in a deep free-kick, Nic Ciardini headed the ball back into danger area where Paterson crashed the ball into the net.
Within two minutes the visitors thought they had equalised only to have the effort ruled out for offside.
Young had to go full length in the mud to make a one-handed save from George Hallahan to keep the home side ahead.
The Hawks tightened their grip in the 64th minute when Hayter squared the ball across for Mullings to score with a fierce drive.
With Young making a couple more decent saves and the home side remaining solid at the back they easily saw out the tie.
Hawks:Young, Strugnell, Medway, Lewis, Haran, Hill, Ciardini, Donnelly, Mullings, Paterson, Hayter
Subs: Molyneaux, Cummings, Swallow, Mitchell, Blanchett