Skipper Spittles continues his absence due to some sort of repetitive strain injury, but manages to cobble together what can only be described as a 'Classic' 6th XI squad assisted by a cameo appearance from Dan Johnson to provide an element of youth.
We knew Wallingford would be hungry for a win and goal difference was essential in their chase for promotion. Hawks knew times were tough when Darby was moved from usual striker position to inside forward but with talisman Felix in goal anything was possible.
Wallingford were quick to press forward and Hawks soon found themselves camped in their own half with wave after wave of attack. Hawks defended doggedly but soon conceded short corner after short corner. However, Wallingford just weren't able to click and each short corner was repelled. Towards the end of the 1st half Hawks found some rhythm a rapidly taken side line ball by Venables found Darby in the D who deflected the ball to the top right with pin point accuracy.
Half time and Hawks were still 1-0 up but we could sense trouble as Wallingford unleashed their clipboard and marker pen in the opposite dugout.
The 2nd half saw Wallingford again drive forward and in a period of about 10 minutes Hawks conceded 3 goals from open play as Hawks marking left something to be desired. Felix was distraught/ bemused by the teams lack of comprehension of his instructions. We just weren't playing well and Wallingford won short after short...in fact we reckoned by the end of the game it must have been close to 20...but only one goal was conceded. Early on in the 2nd half Hawks managed to win a short of their own and the ball found the back of the goal only for a controversial ruling that the umpire considered the ball not to have gone out of the D. At that point it would have been 3-2 and the game could have gone any way
Final score 4-1 but Hawks felt buoyed by the first half performance and overall it had been a tough but enjoyable game. Wells,Hack and Bunn fought hard at the back assisted by Johnson and Stoker. Ash limped off for part of the 2nd half but was energetic as ever. Up front Shirley, Elliott and McGreggor found that a lot of the game involved defending in our half. Hawks remain above the drop zone...just ....and the 'Classics' hope to find form again for the final games.