Enter the Hawks Nest as we head onto our maiden National League voyage!!
The Hawks put the disappointment of Tuesday Night firmly behind them as they rise to second place in the Vanarama National League South with Theo Widdrington’s strike proving good enough to defeat the Tigers in horrendous conditions.
The game was nearly in doubt an hour before kick-off as a thunder storm equiped with lightning spells hit the Jubilee Stadium with fans entering the ground packing the bar inside the ground to escape the conditions. The game did go ahead as planned with a couple of changes due to injury seeing Lee Molyneaux among others coming into the starting lineup.
The first half got underway on schedule and it would be an even start with one chance a piece in the opening 10 minutes. And it would be the home side that would have the first opportunity as Joe Parker’s effort forced an instinctive save from August player of the month Ryan Young. Then 120 seconds later the Hawks had their first effort as Theo Widdrington’s curling effort hit the post.
23 minutes in and play was stopped as what was seemingly an initial clash of heads between Spencer Hamilton and Theo Lewis saw both men leave the field of play. Lewis would be replaced by Barker stating afterwards he “didn’t want to be a passenger” whilst concerns for Hamilton grew as he was stretchered off with both sets of supporters giving him a standing ovation with the Gloucester number 4 being in a good condition afterwards after being seen to in the dressing room.
Conditions grew worse at Jubilee Park as the rain kept hammering down and in the not to distant hills Lightning strikes were visible. Hawks fans who in the first half were housed in an open terrace took cover where they could with the referee making the bold decision to let the game continue. This lead to some sliding tackles, the like of which saw skipper Brian Stock in the book.
And that would be it for the first period as the Hawks and Gloucester players finally took to the shelter of the changing rooms after getting a first half soaking.
In the same vain as the first half it would be the hosts that would have the first opportunity of the half as Darren Mullings looping header forced Ryan Young to tip the ball over for a corner. Minutes later Jason Prior would come close for the Hawks as he fired goal ward with Avery blocking the ball, going out for a corner.
Then with just under 25 minutes to go the Hawks had their best opportunity yet as George Barker kept running down the left hand side and as he came in towards goal his effort would find the side netting, signalling the closest either side had come to breaking the deadlock.
Around the 70th minute mark Jason Prior went down in the penalty area clutching his head with the referee stopping play. Around the Hawks bench and in the main stand concern grew. With skills the physio treating him, goalkeeper Ryan Young signaled to director Tim Mellor, who is also a qualified doctor to also assist Jason with Tim walking down the tunnel with Jason as Skills returned to the field. He would be replaced by Alfie Rutherford.
The unlikely force of hand by Lee Bradbury turned into a Picasso esque master stroke as within 30 seconds of coming on he finds his way into the penalty area plays it into Theo Widdrington who slotted the ball home from 15 yards out to give the Hawks the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining. Gloucester from the kick-off did have a few half chances but Ryan Young and his super Hawks defence had all bases covered. And it would be their no holds barred attitude at the back which would give the forward line the opportunity to try and seal the game in the final few minutes with the best opportunity falling to George Barker who had his effort kicked off the line by Kieron Parselle.
The Hawks would hold on for a huge three points in the grand scheme of things leaving Lee Bradbury's troops in second place and their impressive unbeaten away record intact with their last away defeat being the 3-0 loss at Dulwich Hamlet on March 14.