Havant and Waterlooville
Lewis 27'; P.Robinson 82'
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The Hawks went 2-0 up in the game with strikes from Theo Lewis and Robinson putting the Hawks in the ascendency before Scott Rendall pulled one back for the Shots late on in the game.
Lee Bradbury made two changes from the team that succumbed to defeat on Saturday, there was a welcome return to Dan Strugnell to the Hawks team as well as Alfie Pavey returning to the starting lineup after both sitting out Saturday’s game at Westleigh Park.
The atmosphere inside Westleigh Park resembled that of a cauldron as the Hawks looked to get their first home league win of the season and perhaps a little bit of nerves could be seen by both sides early on in front of the cameras as both sides failed to keep a hold of possession early on in the game.
It would take the best part of 10 minutes for the first opportunity of the game to arise and when it did it fell to the Shots as Luke Rowe floated a cross into the path of the prolific Scott Rendell but when the header came to him he could only head it over.
Then seconds later the Shots came again as Agyepong, who was causing the Hawks defence all sorts of problems, takes a shot but flew way over.
The Hawks defence needed to put their body on the line as Aldershot kept pushing and probing in front of goal and good blocks from first James Rowe and then seconds later by Paul Robinson to deny Agyepong for the second time this evening kept the score deadlocked.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Hawks boss Lee Bradbury was forced into a change. Brian Stock went to ground and stayed on the ground, signalling to the bench that he couldn’t continue. Replacing Stocky was the experienced Andreas Robinson.
With the half hour mark approaching Wes Fogden is clattered to the floor on the edge of the penalty area with referee Rick Hulme signalling for a free kick. The trio of Rory Williams, Andreas Robinson and Theo Lewis looked over this free kick and when it looked like Williams was going to have a strike on goal, played it short to Lewis, flummoxing the Shots defence before ricocheting off ‘keeper Jake Cole’s legs and into the bottom left hand corner to give the Hawks the lead and to send Westleigh Park into raptures.
However, ten minutes before the interval, Lee Bradbury’s worst possible nightmare came to fruition as Wes Fogden went to ground for the second time and again the signals to the bench were that he couldn’t continue with Ibra Sekajja coming on in his place.
The last chance of the half fell to the Hawks as with just seconds to go before the interval as Rory Williams darts his way down the left hand side before serving up an immaculate ball into the path of Alfie Pavey, but Pavey couldn’t quite steer the ball home as it agonisingly goes inches wide of the back post.
The BT Sport cameras at half time showed the managers messages in both dressing rooms being distinctively different and that perhaps told at the start of the second period as Aldershot started the second half at quite the tempo.
But the first opportunity of the second period fell to the Hawks five minutes into the second half as Rory Williams again a menace down the left hand side driving down the wing before swinging once more a perfectly weighted ball in the area looking to find Pavey on the line to nod home but George Fowler would be the first to get there and sniff out the threat that Williams was providing.
Then it would be the turn of Ibra Sekajja to try and double the Hawks advantage as he had two chances in as many minutes. His effort came courtesy of a counter attack as the ball was thrown his way by Ryan Young but when it came to the execution of his effort he could only fire over. Then seconds later, Sekajja would try his luck again as on the edge of the penalty area he broke free from the Aldershot defence but dragged his shot just wide of the target as he showed the Aldershot defence how big a threat he actually is.
And on the hour mark the Hawks were looking promising again as a Theo Lewis corner fell timely for Paul Robinson but couldn’t direct his volley goal bound as the ex Millwall man found himself in plenty of space to let out an effort.
And seconds later the Hawks and Paul Robinson nearly steered in a second for a corner in but this time it was his head that got a connection to the ball which went inches wide as the Hawks continued to press home on their advantage.
But with just under 25 minutes to go the Hawks would have to once more put their bodies on the line as both Pavey and Robinson threw themselves at the ball to stop consecutive Aldershot efforts as they swung the momentum of the game in their direction.
As the game went on, so did the nerves as a tense finale was on the cards, the Hawks don’t do it any other way! And to try and expel those fears Lee Bradbury decided to try and inject something different on the game in the hope of getting a seemingly killer second goal and so Aaron Cosgrave was bought into proceedings replacing Alfie Pavey.
And with 9 minutes to go he nearly did the trick as he’s played in from behind by Nicke Kabamba but put under pressure by the shots defence by Kinsella could only see his shot blocked from an acute angle.
However, seconds later the Hawks would get that seemingly illusive second goal as Williams is corner is initially flicked on by Kabamba to Lewis who heads it back where it came from into the path of Paul Robinson who at the back post was allowed to reach up and head home into the top left-hand corner to double our advantage, his first goal in a Hawks shirt and in timely fashion.
It all looked comfortable for the Hawks at 2-0, which meant that it wouldn’t be that comfortable in all eventualities as with 4 minutes added on the Shots pulled one back to create a grandstand finish as Scott Rendall gets on the end of a loose ball to bring the game back to 2-1.
But the Hawks would keep the bulk of the possession from the kick off, keeping it in the right areas, in corner and in the Shots half before Rick Hulme blew for Full-Time.
A famous win for the Hawks both under the lights and in front of the BT Sport cameras as Lee Bradbury’s side got their first home league win of the season. The result put Aldershot into the relegation zone taking the Hawks’ spot whilst we leapfrogged all the way up to 18thin the league table, rising above rivals Eastleigh in the process.
Next up is a trip to the league leaders Harrogate Town at Wetherby Road on Saturday as the Hawks look to create a huge upset against the surprise league leaders who themselves won promotion to the fifth tier for the first time last term.
Hawks team: 1. Young, 2. Strugnell, 3. Williams, 4.Stock (A.Robinson 20'), 5. Woodford, 6. Harris, 7. Fogden (Sekajja 38'), 8. Lewis, 9. Pavey (Cosgrave 70'), 10. Kabamba, 23. P.Robinson
Referee: Rick Hulme