Havant and Waterlooville
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The Hawks had chances late in the game to win it, most notably from Andreas Robinson’s header with just seconds to go in the game.
The result keeps the Hawks in 21st.
The Hawks gaffer made some big decisions for the clash with Daryl McMahon’s side. Ben Dudzinski made his first league start for the Hawks as well as Marley Ridge. The Hawks boss also announced the loan signing of Tyler Cordner from AFC Bournemouth prior to kick-off.
The selections that the gaffer made certainly paid dividends in the early exchanges as in the third minute the Hawks got their noses in front as the ball is lost by the home team with the ball finding Nicke Kabamba who one on one with Ashmore slides past the Ebbsfleet keeper before crossing the ball to Aaron Cosgrave at the back post who had a simple tap in to an empty net to get his first competitive Hawks goal and give Lee Bradbury’s side the perfect start.
And it certainly was the Hawks who had the ascendency early on in the game with the Hawks having a good share of possession in dangerous areas. 5 minutes in and Kabamba played in Cosgrave again after Williams latches onto a loose ball but Cosgrave could only put his effort wide of goal.
The first opportunity from the hosts came around the ten minute mark as Whiteley plays a decent cross come shot which forces Ben Dudzinski in the Hawks goal into a good save at his back post.
It seemed as if that initial opportunity was the switch that sparked the Fleet into life as the Ebbsfleet front line put pressure on Ryan Woodford and placing him into the corner before Woody loses possession due to the sheer brilliance of the attackers but the incoming effort would could only go wide of the target.
Midway through the opening period and the persistent attacking from Ebbsfleet paid dividends as after the ball is lost deep inside the Hawks half with ‘keeper Dudzinski out with Whiteley and an empty goal at his mercy played the ball across and into the penalty area towards Michael Cheek who, despite the Hawks defences best efforts, bundles the ball into an empty net to level the scoring.
But the Hawks had their opportunities and openings still in the opening period and reacted to the setback well with debutants Ridge and Cordner playing well, drafted into the team by Lee Bradbury.
And it was the latter that nearly put the Hawks’ noses back in front as 5 minutes before the interval Stock from a corner launches a great ball into the penalty area into Cordner’s path but he could only steer his header onto the side netting.
The Hawks started the second period brightly, in similar vain to that of the opening period as within 3 minutes of the restart as Kabamba wiggles himself free from danger plays the ball across the park to Rory Williams on the other flank who then in turn crosses a teasing ball into the penalty area however it was unable to find Cosgrave.
6 minutes later and it would the head of Theo Lewis which would keep the Hawks in the game at 1-1 as a corner is swung into the penalty area towards the head of Whiteley who’s effort is cleared off the line by Theo Lewis at the neat post as the hosts took the ascendency at the start of the second half.
And just before the hour mark the Fleet’s continued pressure in front of goal continued with the substitute Shields turning past Huggins 4 times before cutting inside from 18 yards out and unleashing a thunderous effort which goes just inches over the crossbar.
Seconds later it would be the turn of the Hawks to go forward once more as Williams played another ball into the dangerous Cosgrave but cleared by the home defence as far as Brian Stock who from distance has a crack but could only thrash his effort over the bar.
And with 15 minutes to play Ebbsfleet spurned a golden chance to get themselves back in the lead as a ball into the area falls nicely for goalscorer Michael Cheek but he could only head the ball over.
The game’s biggest talking point came seconds after as the home team were reduced to ten men as Clark was sent off for the hosts after he received a second booking for what was an elbow into the back of the head of Hawks substitute Alfie Pavey.
But it was the ten men of Ebbsfleet with 7 minutes to go who would come close again as Shields has a go with a driving effort from 25 yards which hits the side netting as the Hawks once more being made to weather the storm.
And once that storm was weathered, the Hawks created opportunities in the games closing stages. With the closes of which coming in the last minute of stoppage time as a free kick from Brian Stock is delivered plum into the penalty area into the path of Andreas Robinson at the back post who could only steer his effort just over, agonisingly close for the Hawks who looked to get another late winner on the road.
A point for both teams and a draw which neither manager will not be too disappointed with the pattern of play in the end will probably dictate that a point a apiece was the fair result.
Lee Bradbury was pleased with his side following the game, stating that it was a “good point against last year’s play-off semi finalists” and was also keen to pick out debutant Marley Ridge, a product of the Hawks academy over recent years has had to wait his turn to get his first league and stood out from the get go, winning Man of the Match in the process.
Next up for the Hawks is a second away trip in the space of 4 days as we make the trip to the Hive to take on Barnet. After a shaky start, the Bees have been revitalised and now look up the right end of the table as the Hawks face a tricky away trip. We need your support Tuesday Night for the game as we look to travel in numbers and get a big win.
Hawks XI: 21. Dudzinski, 3. Williams, 4. Stock (c), 5. Woodford, 6. Harris, 8. Lewis (Sekajja 83'), 10. Kabamba, 12. Cosgrave (Pavey 75'), 15. Huggins, 24. Ridge (A. Robinson 75'), 27. Cordner
Man of the Match: Marley Ridge