Havant and Waterlooville
FC Halifax Town
Cordner 48', Rutherford 64'
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
Tyler Cordner and Alfie Rutherford struck in the second period as the Hawks secured back to back wins for the first time in the clubs short National League history.
The victory ensures that Lee Bradbury’s side leapfrog Maidenhead into 20thspot after they lost to bottom side Dover.
Lee Bradbury made one change from the team that thrashed the Magpies 7-0 on Tuesday Night, the two Alfie’s, Rutherford and Pavey, started together for the first time this season, with Nicke Kabamba dropping to the bench.
The Hawks got off to the brighter start of the two sides, testing the Halifax backline with a few teasing ball into the penalty area but ‘keeper Sam Johnson wasn’t truly troubled.
The first save of the game was made by Dudzinski in the Hawks goal and a sublime one it was as well. Kosylo with a free kick from 25 yards out got a good swerve on the ball, curling it towards the bottom right hand corner, but the Hawks goalie did well to get down low before parrying it out for a corner kick.
The Hawks’ first attempt came half an hour into the game as a corner was headed away by the Shaymen defence as far as Andreas Robinson from the best chance of 25 yards out, who went for an effort on goal but fired the ball over the bar.
Ten minutes before the break and the Hawks went again as the hunt for the opener was on as the ball was launched into the area, initially missing Alfie Rutherford, but fell nicely in the end for Bradley Tarbuck who from an acute angle, 12 yards out fired his effort narrowly over the crossbar, as the Hawks number 11 continued to carve the Halifax backline apart.
Seconds later, the play went down the other end with Will Wood heading off the line to keep the game level. As a Halifax corner is whipped into the area, it found the head of Josh Staunton whose header was cleared at the back post by the Accrington Stanley loanee. The closest either side has come in the opening period.
The Hawks had the final opportunity of the half, five minutes from time as Alfie Rutherford burst clear of the Halifax defence as he struck from the best part of 25 yards before firing the ball over.
The Hawks got off to a rip-roaring start to the second half, winning a multitude of corner kicks. The first of these saw the ball fall nicely to Paul Robinson who’s back post header was cleared out for another bite of the cherry, stopping any potential second.
From the other side, Brian Stock launched a superb ball into the penalty area towards Tyler Corner who picks up on a loose ball after the visitors failed to clear the set piece as he heads the ball into the top corner where Johnson tried to tip it out but was unable to as the AFC Bournemouth loanee netted his second goal of the week to give the Hawks the advantage.
A minute after the goal and the Hawks and Cordner were almost in again as Stock floats in a marvellous free kick into the area but it was cleared by Matty Brown before finding Cordner or it looked as if the Hawks would double their advantage.
However, the Shaymen were looking to respond as Jonathan Edwards had an attempt on goal from the best part of 25 yards out which went narrowly over the bar.
And three minutes later, Kosylo hit a free kick from the best part of 25 yards out which hit the roof of the net as the Hawks looked to exasperate the pressure put on the backline.
With just under 25 minutes to play the Hawks doubled their advantage as Alfie Rutherford hit home, but it would Bradley Tarbuck that would be the architect of the move. Stock initially picked up the ball before playing the ball out to the winger and beating the Shaymen defence and even himself, played the ball along an empty penalty area towards Alfie Rutherford who notched the ball into the back of an empty net to make it three in two games since returning from loan and nine in the last six matches altogether.
Two minutes later and Tarbuck, who was unplayable at times, almost made it three. The 22-year-old split the defence in half before hitting the post down the left hand side in what was an acute angle from 10 yards.
Halifax got a lifeline with just over ten minutes left to play as Niall Meher went for goal from the best part of 25 yards out, with Ben Dudzinski spilling the ball into the net, a horrible turn of fate for the Hawks ‘keeper who’s been exceptional over the past few weeks. But for the visitors it was something to cling onto ahead of a tight finale.
Within minutes of the goal and the Hawks thought they sealed the game 3-1 as Alex Bradley launched a corner into the penalty area towards Paul Robinson at the back post who hit the side netting from close range.
The final few minutes would be uncomfortable viewing for the Hawks fans as Halifax gathered a second wind following the goal and continued to test the Hawks backline by firing balls into the box and waiting for them to give them an opportunity to pounce.
In the second minute of stoppage time however, the Hawks thought the game was dead and buried as Cosgrave drove through the Halifax defence who were caught with a high line chasing an equaliser before squaring it to Alex Bradley from 6 yards out, goal at his mercy but could only blaze his effort over the bar.
With a minute left to go in injury time, the Hawks had to see the game out with ten men as Will Wood was sent off following an off the ball altercation before a corner kick which saw pushing and shoving in front of the advertising hoardings behind Ben Dudzinski’s goal with a fan throwing the ball which went out of play straight at the Hawks keeper as tensions flared over before the death.
Despite a late flurry by the visitors, the Hawks held on to record our second National League win of the week and go back to back for the first time in the fifth tier.
Cordner and Rutherford netted each for the second game running as the Hawks produced fireworks just days before Bonfire night.
The Hawks now have a two week break in between matches, with the Hawks’ next game being away to Chesterfield in The National League on Saturday November 17th.
Hawks XI: 21 Dudzinski, 2 Strugnell, 3 Williams (Bradley 60'), 4 Stock (c), 9 Pavey (Kabamba 73'), 11 Tarbuck, 16 A.Robinson, 19 Wood, 20 Rutherford (Cosgrave 77'), 23 P Robinson, 25 Cordner