The Falcons got their league campaign underway with a home fixture against Havant. With prior games overrunning we had an opportunity to see many an unknown Havant player arrive, which gave the Falcons basking in the late September sun cause for concern about a possible strengthened group of visitors.
The game got underway following our minutes silence to commemorate the all too short life of Marley Oakes and our thoughts were all with his extended family!
Our concerns seemed warranted with Havant having some good early possession and Hawks seemed to have over-indulged over the summer as slack passing and low energy offered Havant encouragement. But then things changed, a short corner was won and the resultant strike smashed into the corner by James Finlayson and against run of play Hawks were 1-0 up. Shortly after this another attack led to Andy Sumser adding a second and Havant heads begun to drop. The game continued with Havant seeing a lot of the ball, but never really penetrating the Falcons defence marshalled by the ever reliable Chris Billington with Steve Jones in the engine room.
By this time Hawks appeared able to score whenever they attacked and further goals were added by Mark White, making his return after 7 seasons and then another short corner was won and converted this time by Andy Sumser. Andy was now hunting down a hat-trick in the season opener and a run across the D, a deft tomahawk dummy :) followed by the real deal resulted in him completing the job inside the first half.
At 5-0 up Falcons stepped off the gas and when the opportunity to clear their lines within the 25 wasn't taken, the defence left Havant players unmarked in the D and goalkeeper Wilsdon was left open and the Falcons goal was finally breached 5-1. Hawks with the verbals from Wilsdon still ringing in their ears promptly went down the other end and Mark White was able to add his second. Shortly before half-time Doggett added a deserved goal for all his hard work and Falcons went in 7-1 up at half time.
Falcons took the opportunity of the break to find some shade and new captain Colin 'Buzz' Burrell pointed out to the team some required improvement - that they weren't talking enough and moving the ball around at speed. Havant obviously took the half-time break to discuss how they could change their approach to the game and it immediately made a difference with them scoring two quick goals at the start of the second half, This woke the Falcons up who decided today wasn't a day to let such a big lead slip. A further short corner led to Doggett adding his second, before Mark White was able to celebrate his return to Hawks with his own hat-trick. Russ Warner playing in a deep centre midfield or defensive guard shored up the defence and together with Wells, Jones and Billington the Falcons never looked like letting Havant have another opening. As the game headed toward a close, Finlayson was able to add his second and put Falcons into double figures, a fine start to the new season.
MOM was given to Mark White for such a successful return, but honourable mentions go to Chris Billington, Andy Sumser and Nigel Doggett.
Thanks to Dave Hughes for umpiring
Falcons: Wilsdon, Wells, Jones, Billington, Warner, Sumser, Burrell, White M, Dogett, Finlayson, Griffiths, Kaluza, White D