|Havant and Waterlooville||5-2||Maidstone United|
|Rutherford 10, 63, 85' Ayunga 35' Bradley 54'||
|Paxman 77' Turgott 78'|
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
Rutherford struck the opener ten minutes in before two strikes in the second period, which would ultimately see the game past the Stones.
The visitors were reduced to ten men midway through the first half when striker Elliott Romain was sent off following an off the ball altercation.
The result puts the Hawks up into 18th, two points clear of the bottom four ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Dagenham.
New signing Jonah Ayunga came in from the off for his first Hawks start since joining on loan from Sutton United, with Djamel Leeflang also make his first start for the club, alongside returns for Ryan Woodford and Theo Lewis.
The Hawks started the brighter of the two sides and in the opening periods were teasing balls into the penalty area to get a feel for the game.
Havant’s first opportunity came nine minutes in when Brian Stock with a free kick on the edge of the area, won by Alfie Rutherford, was swung into the penalty area towards Theo Lewis but was unable to find the returning Midfielder.
However, the deadlock would be broken just seconds later when Alfie Rutherford picked up on a loose ball after Ayunga’s goal bound effort was deflected into his path, before driving towards the penalty area and had a poke at goal which took a deflection into the top right-hand corner to give the Hawks the initiative.
It would take until the quarter of an hour mark before the visitors had their first sniff at goal with Blair Turgott playing the ball into the path of Jack Powell who couldn’t get the connection needed to steer the ball goalbound.
And Turgott proved to be dangerous up top for Maidstone and Tyler Cordner stopped his advances again just seconds later as the Stones looked to get themselves back into the game.
But the Hawks were looking threatening with every attack mounted, and 25 minutes into the piece Alfie Rutherford played a delightful ball into the path of Theo Lewis but his bullet header would only go wide of the target with the flag up for offside.
In a spell of dominance by Lee Bradbury’s men, the came forward again just moments later when Ayunga broke free of the Maidstone defence before having his shot from the edge of the box held by Smith, otherwise it looked as if the net would bulge again.
Ten minutes before the break and the Stones were reduced to ten men after Elliott Romain was dismissed following an off the ball altercation nearby the Hawks technical area.
The Hawks would take advantage of the extra man on the field instantaneously with the debutant Ayunga netting on his Hawks bow. The 21-year-old was running rings around the Maidstone defence before pulling the trigger on the edge of the box, with the ball clipping the bottom left hand corner of the net to double the lead.
And the Hawks’ dominance of the final third continued after the goal as the foot firmly remained on the gas with good build up play by Strugnell, who down the left wing was unplayable at times, launched a teasing ball into the penalty area towards Alex Bradley who blazed his effort over the bar.
In the last minute of normal time in the first half, the Hawks perhaps should have made it three when Theo Lewis broke free with the goalkeeper off his line, and with options alongside him, decided to go alone but the ‘keeper pulled off a good save to keep the arrears at two at the break.
The Hawks came out the traps for the second half flying and could have added to their advantage just two minutes into the second stanza when a good ball was played into the penalty area towards Theo Lewis, who nodded the ball over.
The visitors should have pulled a goal back just moments later when Blair Turgott rounded Ben Dudzinski in the Hawks goal before taking too much time on the ball, allowing the Hawks ‘keeper the chance to get back and get a foot to his shot at goal.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Hawks made it 3-0 and did it in some style through Alex Bradley. The Finnish youngster got on the end of a brilliantly timed ball by Brian Stock before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from the best part of 25 yards out to send Westleigh Park into raptures.
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury made a double change on the hour with Ibra Sekajja and Josh Huggins replacing Theo Lewis and Djamel Leeflang.
A minute later and the Hawks could have made it three through a corner kick worked into the path of Ryan Woodford, but the Hawks centre-back couldn’t steer the ball goalbound.
With just over 25 minutes of the game left to play, the Hawks made it four, with Alfie Rutherford bagging his second of the afternoon, as the 20-year-old gets the final touch which knocks it into the bottom left hand corner following a delightful ball into the penalty area by Rory Williams.
Ten minutes later and the Hawks would have two chances in quick succession. The first fell to Alfie Rutherford after Williams swung yet another delightful ball into the penalty area but could only fire his effort wide of target.
And Rutherford would turn provider just seconds later when he launched the ball across the face of the goal towards Nicke Kabamba who slipped before getting to the ball.
But the game would see a second wind put into it’s sails with just over ten minutes left as Maidstone scored two goals within the space of 60 seconds.
The first came when Paxman broke forward, past the Hawks defence and slotted the ball home, past Dudzinski from 12 yards out to make it 4-1.
And 4-1 became 4-2 just seconds later when Blair Turgott drills the ball home following a good ball into the penalty area to half the defecit within a minute for a Maidstone team transformed.
But it was Maidstone’s late push for goals which would ultimately be their undoing as Rutherford sealed his hattrick. After putting bodies forward, Stock cleared the ball long, finding Rutherford, who kept himself onside and with just the onrushing Smith in the Stones goal to beat 1 on 1, he slotted the ball home calmly to collect his matchball.
And the last chance of the game fell for the Hawks with Alex Bradley, already having scored one screamer, had another poke at goal from distance, but on this occasion the ball went over the ball.
Despite the late goals conceded, the Hawks looked good throughout the whole 90 minutes, making a team who have been resurgent over recent weeks look ordinary.
The goals will only install confidence into the team ahead of another big game on Tuesday Night away to Dagenham and Redbridge at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Hawks XI: 21 Dudzinski, 2 Strugnell, 3 Williams, 4 Stock ©, 5 Woodford, 8 Lewis (Huggins 60’), 9 Ayunga (Kabamba 70’), 20 Rutherford, 25 Cordner, 26 Bradley, 34 Leeflang (Sekajja 60’)
Referee: Simeon Lucas