Havant and Waterlooville
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
Alfie Pavey put the Hawks in front halfway through the first half netting at the back post following a defensive mix up before Adam Rooney pulled The Ammies level minutes before the interval heading from a corner kick.
The result leaves the Hawks 18thin The National League table with an average of a point per game.
Lee Bradbury named an unchanged team from the side that started against Braintree Town as Ryan Woodford staves off competition to keep his place in the starting XI.
The Hawks started the game with a good tempo but it would take until the 8thminute to land the first chance of note as Nicke Kabamba drove the ball goalwards beating the onrushing defender Pond in the process before a last ditch challenge from Hogan stopped Kabamba’s effort going goalbound.
Both sides were feeding each other into the game for the opening exchanges with neither side creating any dominance on the game as the first half developed.
However midway through the opening period, the Hawks took the lead as Wes Fogden drove forward following a good pass from Stock in the middle of the park and down the left hand side cut into the penalty area, forcing a mistake from the Salford defender before playing a ball across goal with the keeper parrying the ball as far as Tarbuck who sees his effort flash onto the face of the crossbar before falling to the feet of Alfie Pavey who was in the right place, at the right time to poke home from 2 yards out to give the Hawks the lead and cash in on the opportunity presented to him.
Brian Stock was a focal point for the Hawks in the opening period providing some exquisite balls into the penalty area which created all sorts of problems for the Salford City defence.
And 10 minutes before the interval Nicke Kabamba came within inches of doubling the Hawks’ lead as he pounces on a half chance created to him as a long ball alludes the Salford defence into his path and he gets a good connection to the ball and the ball clipped the post and coming out an inch wide. So perilously close for the Hawks as the lads grew in confidence.
But that fire would be extinguished just minutes later as the visitors netted an equaliser as a Salford corner is whipped in well towards the path of Adam Rooney and the ex Aberdeen striker nods home at the far post, rising the highest to net past Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.
With 5 minutes left in the half, Salford would have another corner but Piergianni who got his head to the effort couldn’t direct his header goalwards and 1-1 it would be at the interval.
Lee Bradbury felt that a change in pace was needed for the Second half as Alfie Pavey made way for Alfie Rutherford as the Hawks look to net a winner in the second period.
And in the same vain as last week, Rutherford would come in and make an instant impact on the game as within 5 minutes of the restart he Is teed up following a brilliant pass by Theo Lewis and bursting through towards the penalty area he unleashed a fierce effort but was dealt well by the visitors.
In a stop-start second period, chances came few and far between and the game would go with spells where neither side would be able to create a clear cut opportunity.
But with 25 minutes left to play Salford would try and get their noses in front but the Hawks would sniff it out and with ease as Rodney’s effort lacked the power he would have wanted to truly trouble Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.
A minor worry for Lee Bradbury seconds later with Ed Harris going to ground with a knee injury, with the ex-Wimbledon man being replaced by Paul Robinson.
The game would flow from one end to the other with 20 minutes left. Salford were denied on the line by Theo Lewis after Piergianni’s header was headed away from Lewis on the back-post.
And within 60 seconds the ball was at the other end and the shoe on the other foot as Rutherford burst clear with the goal at his mercy but when Rutherford fire in on goal he could only direct his effort into Neal’s path.
It was a bitty game and both sides were showing their desire to try and find a winner and that was shown in the challenges that was flying in and at times that passion did spill over as most notably a push on Alfie Rutherford from Lloyd after Hawks player fouled the Salford number 10.
With 8 minutes left of the game the Hawks was playing exhibition football as Rory Williams plays a scissor kick across the penalty area to Brian Stock who volleys the ball with such venom but his effort would go over as Hawks fans were to salivate over what if?
As the board for injury time approached Salford came close once more as Whitehead instead of teeing up one of the front two, went for the effort himself but his effort could only go high over the crossbar.
The board read 4 minutes for stoppage time at the end of the second half and the Hawks nearly delivered more late drama as brilliant build up play with seconds left to play saw the ball crossed into the path of Dan Strugnell who’s bullet header went an inch wide on goal. So close for the Hawks right at the very death.
A draw seemed a fair reflection on the whole and that verdict unanimous in both camps. The Hawks preserve their unbeaten Home record with Westleigh Park starting to become a fortress. A short turnover now for Lee Bradbury’s troops as they now make the short trip to Bromley on Bank Holiday Monday as the Hawks look to continue their good start back on the road.