The M1s made the long trip to the south coast on Sunday to take on Brighton in a National League One South clash.
After bright performances in recent weeks, Hawks made the faster start but it was Brighton who created the first chance on goal when a two-on-one with Hawks keeper Chris Price resulted in a Brighton forward finding the side netting when it would have been much easier to find the back of the net. Playing very much a counter attacking game, which Hawks were not quick to respond to, the home side took the lead on 11 minutes when welsh international Joe Naughalty was allowed to take a quick free hit from an innocuous position and carry the ball 15 yards unchallenged to the top of the circle where he finished smartly off his reverse stick. This was the wake up call Hawks needed and their response was swift, Freddie Foster feeding Ed Tristem on the top of the circle who turned smartly only to see his shot come back off a post. Hawks were very much in the game and levelled the scores one minute after the quarter break when a well-judged aerial pass from Adam Jolly found Archie Winter in the inside right position just inside the opposition circle. Winter's excellent control allowed him to finish crisply off his reverse stick and the momentum was now with the visitors. Five minutes later Tristem and Oli Lobo combined well down the left flank resulting in Lobo winning a penalty corner. Despite a breakdown in the normally reliable routine Jack Biggs somehow managed to find the goal to give Hawks the lead. Hawks however continued to play into Brighton's hands by being profligate in attack and not making enough circle penetrations, leading to turnovers and counter attacks. Price was called on to make two excellent saves, one from a penalty corner, as the game became feisty and vocal, to ensure that Hawks took their lead into half time.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, with Hawks build up play giving them the advantage in terms of territory and possession, but with Brighton always threatening on the counter. Hawks' task was not helped when Kiran Patel was shown a green card for challenging an umpire's decision, and when he continued his discussion with the umpire, the card was upgraded to yellow. In the final minute of the suspension Brighton made their advantage pay when they won and converted a penalty corner to level the scores at 2-2. Once back to full numbers, Hawks pushed hard to regain the advantage and enjoyed an excellent four minute spell prior to the three quarter break when they put the home rearguard under pressure but without finding any clear cut openings. Hawks kept up the pressure in the final quarter and quickly won a penalty corner. The attempt on goal was charged down, resulting in a second corner where a slip move found Winter to the left of the goal but his effort came back off the right post. The game continued to be feisty and Tristem was invited to take a two minute sit down whilst green and yellow cards were also shown to home players. Four minutes from time a swift move from left to right looked like it would lead to Hawks taking a late lead when a golden chance fell to Ed Tristem, who had been a constant threat all game, but unfortunately the chance went begging. A further chance came and went with a penalty corner two minutes from time, but another slip move was well read by the Brighton defence and the ball was cleared.
So an away point, which is generally always a good point, but some regret that another positive and encouraging performance couldn't quite be converted into three points.