Hawks made the short trip to Marlow, still looking for that elusive win.
Hawks started brightly and possibly should have been 1-0 up very early in the game, the tall Marlow keeper dashing Hawks' hopes. Marlow grew in confidence as a result of the save and put the "squeeze" on the Hawks defense. A couple of mistakes at the back allowed Marlow to win successive short-corners and they finally converted one to go ahead. Hawks rallied (as they had done all season), however a second short-corner for Marlow (which had to be taken numerous times) led to a sweaty rebound which was eventually put away - 2-0 to Marlow. Hawks continued to push for a goal and were finally rewarded with Dan Andrews scoring low to the keeper's left with a "power scoop". At this point the cards began to fly - greens and yellows for both sides - for a variety of offences, both imagined and real depending on your view of the game. But no matter the number of players on the pitch, Hawks continued to be threatening with their limited possession. A slow reaction to the turnover of possession following a Hawks attacking short corner presented a break-away opportunity for Marlow and despite a desperate first save by Chris Price, the rebound was put away. Although Hawks ended the half in 3-1 down, we remained really positive.
The second half started the pretty uncompromising "Battle of the Midfields". Yet more yellow cards for both sides. Without the easy availability of Dunners' iPhone video replays, we could only compose ourselves and hope for the best.
Ultimately, the game hinged on a single moment in the second half. A young Marlow player, Jack Clee, burst through to go one-on-one with Chris Price. Clee took a heavy, laboured touch which was all the incentive Price needed to come flying out of the D to meet both ball and player. Crunch... It did not look or sound good. A lengthy delay ensued as Price emerged from the encounter very much the worse off. A little dazed, he continued and made an amazing double save before having to be helped off the pitch, finally succumbing to the injuries sustained in the earlier collision. 11 Outfield players and 12 minutes remaining. It did not bode well.
According to Sun Tzu, the best form of attack in this situation is a vigorous defence; and so it was. Despite their perceived advantage, Marlow managed only two "scuffed" shots in 10 minutes. As the game progressed, Marlow looked increasingly unlikely to augment their lead. Buoyed by this, Hawks turned the screws, pressing high and working hard. A couple of good chances came and went, however James Gilbert was the first to take real advantage of a Marlow turnover of possession, as he forced an own-goal following a flowing Hawks move to make it 3-2. Then Hawks, who had already doubled their short corner tally for the season during the match, struck again. An initial save by the Marlow keeper fell to the short-corner injector Rich Craig who obligingly tapped the ball in from a yard at the near post. 3-3!! Joy unconfined!! With less than a minute to go, Hawks won another short corner and Dan Andrews beat the keeper with an absolute rocket - 4-3!!
To coin a phrase, "everyone went mental" at the final whistle. Hawks had finally achieved the win they have quite obviously deserved all season!!