The 2s travelled to Staines on a typically cold and windy February day hoping to emulate their previous 5-0 win against the only other 2nd XI in the league. Unfortunately, the one-sided manner of that previous win was not evident on Saturday.
The opening exchanges were frantic, with neither side keeping possession well. Buckingham, in particular, seemed particularly eager to gift the ball to the opposition's forwards, but thankfully these opportunities were either wasted by Staines or gobbled up by Hawks' resolute defending. Hawks did open the scoring about half way through the first half with their first short corner of the day, as Burden notched for the 11th consecutive game low into the bottom corner. The scoreline stayed at 1-0 until half time, largely thanks to some fine defending from Hawks, and good work from Price in goal, which kept Staines at bay.
After a deserved rollicking at half-time, Hawks came out looking to improve their link up play and to generally up their game. However, Staines had other ideas, and soon had the game back on level terms as a short corner was despatched. This spurred Hawks on, and the away side started to keep the ball better, particularly through Man of the Match Jenkin who commanded the midfield and gave Hawks an added thrust moving up the pitch. This pressure eventually brought Hawks another short corner, from which Burden doubled his tally for the day to give Hawks a slender lead.
Staines, who are hovering perilously above the relegation zone, tried to get another equaliser as the second half went on, but were found lacking in the final third. Hawks, meanwhile, looked to capitalise on the extra space afforded to them as Staines pushed forward. The Staines goal led a charmed life at times - one shot coming back off the post following a deflection from a Staines defender's stick, one clearance from a Staines defender directly to Baldock on the floor by the post, and almost an own goal conceded following about five passes (by Staines) around the Staines defence. The elusive third goal from Hawks did finally arrive in the dying moments of the game. Robinson launched an aerial high into the grey sky, which was brought down and swiftly slipped to Clark on the edge of the opposition's D and calmly smashed past the Staines goalkeeper into the side board to give Hawks a 3-1 win.
The team will be disappointed with the performance, despite the win, in a game which they ought to have dominated from start to finish. Two major positives, however, were the introductions of Spittles and Phibbs, who both put in assured performances on their debuts for the team. This Saturday sees the league-leading Hawks 2s face Ashford 1s at BRN in the mid-afternoon slot at 3pm, with a view to both increasing their winning run in 2013 to seven games, and to tighten their grip on 1st place in the league going into the final five games.