Bedford Town 2 v 1 Hawks
Bedford Town 2 v 1 Hawks
Havant and Waterlooville were made to pay for squandered chances at Meadow Lane this afternoon where two quick fire second half goals saw Southern League playoff winners Bedford Town beat the Hawks 2-1.
A strong opening from the visitors left Bedford looking nervous, but the side struggled to get shots on target and the Eagles seized the game in the space of five minutes when substitute Ian Draycott scored twice just six minutes after coming on. Brett Poate managed a consolation goal amid a goalmouth scramble in the 90th minute, but it was too little to late for the Hawks.
Michael Warner returned from injury to reclaim his place in the Hawks side, dropping Mo Harkin to the bench in a side otherwise unchanged from last week.
Bedford packed their box quickly in the opening seconds as Rocky Bapiste latched onto a high ball from Warner and turned it back for Jamie Collins to fire into a defender on the line.
The hosts made little headway with the first corner of the game before the Hawks worked their way forward again through a series of throw-ins to a free kick that Warner sent over the bar.
Warner, busy in the midfield throughout the game, tried again, blasting a shot into Craig Grieve after another Hawks throw was lifted across the box by Baptiste. Decisions continued to go the way of the visitors, and Poate took another free kick that curled neatly for Baptiste to head wide.
The Hawks looked strong coming forward, but overcomplicated passing in the final third let them down as their hosts started to get the measure of them. Michael Warner`s 14th minute volley off a cross from Poate spun viciously as it looped past Bedford`s stand in keeper Steven Graham, but it bounced over Craig Watkins as the striker slid in at the back post with a leg raised to guide it home.
The Hawks maintained their possession, restricting Bedford`s attacks, but the hosts very nearly took a shock lead when Matt Childs`s long diagonal eluded Jordan and dropped for John Lawford to sprint through and fire past Shane Gore. The off side flag though denied the striker what would otherwise have been an excellent goal.
Cries for a penalty were ignored when Tom Jordan went tumbling in the box as he tried to reach a Michael Warner corner, but brother Phil made most of the melee when he curled a beautiful shot through the pack that Graham did well to snatch at his back post.
Seconds later it was Bedford`s turn to shout when Derwayne Stupple crunched to the ground in the Hawks` six yard box, but not before he`d angled a header over the bar.
A shot on the turn from Lawford brought another great save from Gore, and as the half wound down it was Bedford who were suddenly finding the target. A lucky deflection off the referee sent Michael Lyon`s pass straight into the path of Aaran Cavrill`s sprinting run, and his first time strike forced Gore down onto his line.
Bedford Town 0
Havant and Waterlooville 0
An early second half corner gave Collins the chance to test debutant keeper Graham, who kept his obvious nerves well in check and punched the ball away. The keeper then survived several more corners in the following minutes as the Hawks started to look less and less inspired.
Lyon`s ranged attempt flew 25 yards into the advertising boards behind the goal as Bedford continued to make more direct attempts at scoring, and Luke Byles was unlucky when his cushioned header dropped into Graham`s hands after Warner sent in another ball from the wing at the other end.
Poate followed with an inswinging corner that Jordan met squarely to head over and Baptiste tried a cheeky lob that dropped past Graham but also over the post.
The Hawks` pretty football failed to find them the lead, and Bedford made them pay with their more direct approach in the 73rd minute when Lyon`s quick low pass found Draycott on the left side of the Hawks box. Gore raced toward the substitute to close him down, but too late to stop the shot that whistled past him and into the far side of the net.
Byles wasted an opportunity to equalise quickly when he head a free kick wide at the back post, but the visitors were undone when Draycott turned home another cross from Lyon to put the hosts two goals ahead just five minutes after their first.
The Hawks continued to huff and puff the ball forward, looking less and less co-ordinated every time until the 90th minute when substitute Richard Pacquette managed to poke the ball the right way in a goalmouth scramble and Poate lifted it away from Graham before turning it home on the line. Immediately the Hawks looked more buoyant, but hurried attempts to find a last ditch equaliser came to nothing as time ran out.
By Rich Self