Havant and Waterlooville
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
Pyke struck after 30 minutes as he beat three Hawks defenders inside the penalty area before curling the ball into the bottom right hand corner, leaving ‘keeper Ben Dudzinski with no chance.
The Hawks rallied on and pushed forward on several occasions but found breaking down the Dragons defence a tricky task as the home side kept their 10thclean sheet of the season.
The result keeps the Hawks in the bottom four.
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury made 2 changes from the team that lost to Solihull Moors last week. Rory Williams was forced out through injury with Brian Stock taking his place whilst Josh Huggins came in for Alfie Pavey.
In front of a raucous Welsh crowd, the Hawks found themselves to the debt of keeper Ben Dudzinski twice in the opening ten minutes of the game.
The first came within 90 seconds of the game getting underway as Luke Young floated a great ball into the path of Stuart Beavon who’s headed effort is tipped over the bar by the ex-Lowestoft man.
Then it was Dudzinski again to the rescue 6 minutes later as Jordan Maguire-Drew cut inside on the edge of the penalty area before getting his curling effort away and with the ball looking as if it would nestle into the top right-hand corner, Dudzinski again got a strong hand to the ball to tip it onto the crossbar.
The Hawks grew into the game following the first quarter of an hour, enjoying long spells of possession in the process with their closest opportunity of the spell coming just before the 20 minute mark as a Josh Huggins plays a corner short to Bradley Tarbuck, who in turn launches a delightful ball into the penalty are looking to find Nicke Kabamba at the back post but two Wrexham defenders did well to block off the supply line to the Hawks number 10.
But half hour in and the Hawks would find themselves a goal down with what was ultimately the game deciding strike as Rekiel Pyke firstly cut inside before beating three Hawks defenders with the 21-year-old forward then curling the ball home to give the hosts the lead.
And with 5 minutes to go until the interval it was the never say die attitude of first Ben Dudzisnki and latterly Tyler Cordner to keep the deficit to the solitary goal as first the Hawks keeper pulls off a good point blank save before a goalmouth scramble saw the ball headed off the line by the Bournemouth loanee.
Then seconds later the inspired Dudzinski continued to impress in the Hawks goal with the Wrexham frontline continuing to test his resilience. On this occasion the goalscorer Pyke, looking for a brace, went one on one with the Hawks keeper before tipping the ball on the bar when the Dragons number 11 let fly.
Wrexham would come out for the second half and keep a lions share of possession for the first ten minutes of the second period as the boisterous home crowd looked for a second.
But it would be the Hawks that would have the first opportunity of the second half as good build up play revolving around Brian Stock’s midfield expertise saw the ball fall into the path of Andreas Robinson who curled a ball from distance just wide of the back post.
A few minutes later and the hosts came forward again as Maguire-Drew, who was causing the Hawks a whole host of problems down the right, floated a teasing ball into the path of Pyke who’s backheel found itself comfortably cleared by the Hawks defence.
Just after the hour mark and the Hawks’ good build up play was almost rewarded as good play by Stock saw him play out the ball to Huggins, who himself played in Tarbuck and when inside the area elected to shoot but he would see his effort deflected.
With just over 20 minutes to play and the Hawks’ surge for an equaliser continued to gather pace as on this occasion, Huggins out wide this time picked out Andreas Robinson who himself see his effort deflected by Luke Young for the hosts.
5 minutes later and the Hawks again had Dudzinski to thank as he made another match saving stop with Maguire-Drew 6 yards out and the goal at his mercy, he pulls off a superb point blank save to keep the game alive.
With a quarter of an hour to play, the Hawks gaffer Lee Bradbury made 2 changes with Alfie Pavey and Aaron Cosgrave replacing Theo Lewis and Ibra Sekajja as we looked to press for that equalising goal.
Seconds after that sub and the Hawks came forward with a flourish as Tarbuck played a good long ball forward to Kabamba who’s header was saved by ‘keeper before the flag went up on the right-hand side for offside.
A matter of moments later Pavey looked to get his head on the end of a Harris cross after good build up play by Huggins and Cosgrave, but the keeper came rushing out, punching the ball away with a clash of heads between the two in the process.
With both back on their feet, the Hawks gaffer used that interval to make his final change of the game with Dan Strugnell replacing Ed Harris.
As the clock ticked down towards the 90, the Hawks were the side most likely to score and with 4 minutes left of normal time Stock again provider floated a delightful looking ball into Huggins who could only steer his downward header wide of the goal.
The final Hawks chance was perhaps the closest in which we got to bulging the back of the net with a free kick from Brian Stock midway through second half injury time was floated into the path of Kabamba, who flicked the ball on first time towards Pavey who’s outstretched but couldn’t get the vital connection to the ball which would have surely made it 1-1.
Another Saturday where the Hawks were left to scratch their heads as to an outcome of a game but will look to build on recent performances and try and turn those into results in which they warrant.
After a Portsmouth Senior Cup tie with Paulsgrove on Tuesday we return to league action next Saturday at Westleigh Park as we take on Gateshead.
Hawks XI: 21 Dudzinski, 4 Stock (c), 5 Woodford, 6 Harris (Strugnell 77'), 8 Lewis (Cosgrave 75'), 10 Kabamba, 11 Tarbuck, 15 Huggins, 16 A.Robinson, 18 Sekajja (Pavey 75'), 25 Cordner
Man of the Match: Ben Dudzinski