The M1’s travelled to Teddington on Saturday keen to halt a run of three straight defeats. Their Achilles heel so far this season has been an inability to put together a consistent performance across all four quarters of a game and so they were keen to pick up where they left off in the second half against Sevenoaks the previous week when they played as well as they have done this season. Teddington always represent a tough challenge and so Hawks’ positive start to the game was a huge improvement on recent outings. Good work from Rob Dunnill, Ed Tristem and Archie Winter won their first circle entry as early as the third minute and a minute later a decent half chance fell to Oli Lobo whose effort was cleared around the post. Teddington also posed questions of the Hawks defence and the first quarter was evenly contested, the scoreboard reading 0-0 at the first break.
Hawks came out of the traps quickly in the second quarter and following good work from Tristem (who was to prove a thorn in Teddington’s side throughout) and Lobo, Kiran Patel pounced on a rebound off the keeper to open the scoring from close in after 19 minutes - although his green card for an over-exuberant goal celebration over the prone Teddington keeper was not helpful! Teddington continued to press and levelled the scores ten minutes later when Hawks failed to clear their lines, allowing Kyle White to finish with aplomb off his reverse stick from the edge of the circle. There was still time before the half time break for Hawks to fashion a couple of chances, but neither resulted in an outcome and the scores remained tied at 1-1 at half time.
Hawks’ press was effective throughout and a great steal and weighted lay off from Tristem early in the third quarter fed Archie Winter who might have done better when flicking wide of the far post. Hawks created another opening three minutes later when an aerial out of defence found Winter wide on the left. His well-judged pass presented Ted Bennett with a clear run in on goal, but he was quickly closed down by the advancing home keeper. Five minutes before the three-quarter break, Tristem was again making a nuisance of himself, drawing a heavy tackle outside the circle which resulted in a penalty corner - allowing Jack Biggs to step up and convert and give Hawks a deserved lead on the balance of play. But four minutes later Teddington won a penalty corner themselves after Adam Jolly misjudged a tackle. Fortunately for Hawks their effort could only find the outside of a post and Hawks held on to their 2-1 lead heading into the final quarter of the match.
A strong save by keeper Chris Price in the first minute after the break seemed to give Hawks the confidence to manage their way through the remainder of the game. A swift ball transfer from right to left gave Ed Ellis the chance to make a strong ball carry into the Teddington circle where he found a defender’s foot. Unfortunately the choice of a switch move at the resultant penalty corner came to nothing and Hawks had to keep their nerve in the closing minutes when they invited pressure on themselves by not clearing their lines when they had the chance to do so. But this time there were no late mishaps and Hawks closed out the game to take a welcome three points in what is proving to be a very tight and competitive National League One South - where just four points cover eight of the ten teams in the division. A trip to the seaside beckons for the team next Sunday when they will take on Brighton.