On a chilly Saturday afternoon Hawks hosted Banbury as they looked to extend their recent winning run. Hawks arrived to the news of the return of comrades Oli Lobo and Tom Godding and they started off with the usual palaver in the changing room.
A fine presentation was, quite frankly, ruined by one member of the team. The code of conduct on dressing room affairs prevents me from revealing him to you, as his anonymity is sacrosanct, but I can assure you he was suitably punished for this needless attack on nostrils everywhere. Coach Imran soldiered on the best he could and impressed upon the kettle the need to keep emotions from boiling over and to control the game. Thankfully, Hawks did not let this disruption affect their performance.
The game started with some end-to-end play as both teams looked to gain the early advantage. But it was Hawks who struck first, nicking the ball in the middle of the pitch and a fast break down the left, involving some slick passing from Alex Williams and Dan Rhodes, ended with Ted Bennett applying a cool reverse stick finish. Soon after, Matt Wood was sent clear on the right only to be fouled as he was about to pull the trigger. The resulting penalty flick was dispatched by Jack Biggs to make it 2-0.
The first half then settled into more of a rhythm as Hawks took control. Another goal came via a Jack Biggs drag flick and Hawks were able to deal with any Banbury attacks without too much trouble. Half time arrived, 3-0.
Hawks continued where they left off after the break and added a fourth from another Jack Biggs power scoop. But Banbury weren't down and out yet. They worked very hard to try and get back into the game and replied with a goal of their own not long after. More Banbury pressure followed and some excellent defending from Drew Blackburn and MOM Will Murch steadied the ship as Hawks looked to hold on to their three goal cushion. The game could have taken a different turn had Chris Price not been on hand to make an outrageous point blank save, with his helmet, from a quick reverse stick shot.
Banbury did not give up and kept pushing for a way back into the match with Hawks looking dangerous on the counter as the game entered the final 10. But the match stayed at 4-1 and Hawks took the points from a very well contested game.
A big thanks to all the support yesterday and over the first half of the season, it is much appreciated. Hawks roll on to Battersea Park next week for a mouth-watering clash of the Blackburns.