The M1’s picked up where they left off in their strong second half performance against Sevenoaks the previous week to run out 4-3 winners in their encounter with Canterbury late on Saturday afternoon. Managing to buck their recent trend of sub-standard first half showings, Hawks started strongly and Jack Biggs gave them the lead from their first penalty corner in the ninth minute following smart work from Ed Tristem. But despite holding the upper hand for much of the first half, Hawks didn’t extend their lead until the half hour mark. Then Andy Watts picked up the ball just inside the twenty five yard line and on forcing his way into the circle the ball fell to Alex Copestake who finished crisply with a first time strike from fourteen yards. A minute later Hawks extended their lead further with the best goal of the match. The Hawks press forced a turnover from Canterbury in their own half and when Ed Tristem found Copestake in the circle with a fine pass, Copestake then neatly exchanged passes with Watts before calmly finishing from six yards out. However, Hawks failed to hold on to their three goal advantage going into the half time break and allowed Canterbury forward Connor Annand to latch on to a long diagonal aerial pass to finish speculatively from the edge of the circle with the final play of the half.
Not surprisingly, the goal gave Canterbury the lift they needed and the visitors forced the pace of the game throughout the third quarter. But crucially, the Hawks rearguard held resolute under pressure and prevented the visitors from reducing the deficit. With Hawks looking the fitter of the two teams, they stabilised in the fourth quarter although it was Canterbury who scored next to haul themselves back to within one goal and give themselves hope of at least salvaging a point. But Hawks remained calm and four minutes later good approach work from Ed Ellis down the left flank resulted in a cross to Watts whose half touch fell to Copestake to finish with aplomb, complete his hattrick and give the home side some welcome breathing space. There was just enough time for Canterbury to grab a third goal, but Hawks comfortably played out the last two minutes to secure the points and jump to third place in National League One. Havant visit BRN next Sunday with Hawks hoping to maintain the momentum provided by this good win.
Many thanks to Evelyn Hargraves for the great photos under difficult conditions - bad light and heavy rain.