Honours even between the Hawks and the Darts:
Hawks 0-0 Dartford; Full match report
Havant and Waterlooville were held to a 0-0 draw against the bookmaker’s joint favourites for the league in Dartford in what was a phrenetic and physical encounter at Westleigh Park. Hawks manager Lee Bradbury was forced into one change from the 3-2 midweek win against Eastbourne as Matt Tubbs came in for Alfie Rutherford who suffered a knock during the Tuesday night encounter.
The first 15 minutes the Hawks looked like the side on top with many chances in the opening quarter with the first chance after 2 minutes as the ball is played into Jason Prior who then plays it down into Theo Lewis but Lewis couldn’t find the connection and the ball would go out for a goal kick. Minutes later the Hawks would win a free-kick which Theo Widdrington fired into the penalty area onto Ed Harris who’s headed effort flicked over the post. Before the opening 10 minutes were up Wes Fogden had the first golden chance for the Hawks as his curled effort from all of 20 yards out would be saved by Deren Ibrahim in the Dartford goal.
Dartford, though would show why they are to some bookies, the favourites to take the Vanarama National League South title as a long throw-in by Richard Sho-Silva caused some problems in the Hawks penalty area with Ryan Hayes having an effort but it would be saved by Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.
Before the half-hour mark the Hawks had a penalty appeal turned down as Jason Prior during a Hawks attack went to ground the Referee deemed it perfectly legal with play moving on. As the first half ended the momentum shifted once more following a spell where Dartford would find themselves on top, the Hawks would have a spell on top with the first-half ending somehow 0-0.
HALF TIME: HAWKS 0-0 DARTFORD
The Second half would get underway amid a wonderful afternoon on the South Coast and following this summer it would somewhat a rarity to see the sun and all 775 supporters who were in attendance would soak up every second of it, the same would be said for the second half at Fort Westleigh.
It would take 10 minutes for the first key talking point of the second half as Rory Williams played the ball into the penalty area but Tom Bonner headed the ball back into the ‘keeper Ibrahim. Minutes later the Hawks would come calling once more but the Darts were able to clear the effort.
On the hour mark Dartford had the closest chance any side would have to break the deadlock as a header by their skipper Eliot Bradbrock forced a point blank, reaction save out of Ryan Young with the showstopper bringing ringing applause around Westleigh Park. And Dartford would come close 5 minutes later as Warren M’Fula’s effort would go just wide of the target.
The Hawks would once more be defending a point against the Kent based outfit as the ball gets put into the penalty area but Wes Fogden being first to the ball and sniffing out the danger. Then a minute later a Dartford free-kick was put into the penalty area with Sho-Silva’s penalty area header saved by Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.
FULL-TIME: HAWKS 0-0 DARTFORD
With the league campaign 3 games old, the Hawks would find themselves unbeaten amid a tough start. Post-match Lee Bradbury said the game was “frustrating, hard and a game against a hard and well organised team. We didn’t play the best of Football today but we did dig in and we did defend well and we had to. The long throw (of Richard Sho-Silva) and them being a big, physical side, organised and they were hard to break down. I thought it was
two stubborn teams really that weren’t willing to give in and it was always going to be a tight affair”.
Next up for the Hawks is some Monday Night Football action as they face Wealdstone away in what will be an intriguing tussle with the traditional Saturday-Monday factor blended into the melting pot.