On a day where the weather was as fickle as the run of play, the Hawks faced the visiting Pinewood Predators. The Predators were very strong upfront and had no hesitation in using this to dominate the match and notched up 2 goals in the first 5 minutes.
The Predators consolidated their lead at the 14-minute mark, making it 3-0. The Hawks were playing well, but a little dazed by the score line. The Predators kept keeper Max Messias very busy and he was instrumental in stopping the score from creeping up any further, making three great saves between the 16th& 21st minutes, supported by Daniel Flowers making a great clearance after the final one.
The Hawks started to regain their composure and make more inroads into the Predators’ defence. Jenson Lea took a curling shot from distance on the right and came remarkably close to opening the goal account. A great corner from Harry Graham was followed by a lovely tap from Jess Reed that forced a save from their keeper. As play moved back towards the Hawks goal, Flowers stepped in and sent it back into the mix with a great ball that was then picked up by George Acock who passed through to a waiting Conor Quinn who in turn passed through to Graham who found Lucas Wilson who found… the back of the net! Great build up work resulting in a great goal.
The Hawks were back in the match and Leo Schlaefli found himself in space after running onto the ball from the half way line, he took a moment and took a great arcing shot that narrowly missed the waiting goal. A few minutes before half time saw a couple more corners from the Hawks and nice passing and movement between Graham and Acock. Reed positioned herself well and got on the end of a pass, making a break towards goal, she was taken down on the edge of the box in what could have been a game changing opportunity.
The backs were also getting the measure of the attacking force of the Predators, with Louis Catlin, Flowers and Schlaefli making some timely clearances.
The Hawks opened the second half in a much stronger manner and the passing between Acock, Jamie Halliwell, Lea and Wilson up front was causing problems for the Predators. There was good pressure from the Hawks and they secured a corner within the first minute of kick off. In the third minute Graham passed to Acock for a chip on goal, but their keeper came out and did well to control the ball.
The Hawks successfully defended a corner around thirty-six minutes with Messias putting in another impressive block. At the thirty-seven-minute mark, Halliwell made a great run on goal – it was 3 on 1 – with Halliwell going solo and he was unlucky not to net – even against these odds. The Predators countered following a goal kick and managed to net again making it 4-1.
The passing work that was rusty at the start of the match was now much more fluid across the whole team and Messias did a great dummy and pass through to Lea – ready in space – leading to a shot on goal that the Predators successfully blocked. This was followed up by another great run by Halliwell down the right of the pitch – he made a cross to Acock who was well positioned near the goal – but they couldn’t quite connect. Lea had a chance in the 56thminute with a chip that the keeper did well to save.
Quinn made some key saves in the final quarter ably assisted by Catlin, Reed and Graham who kept the Predators in check with Mikey Dowling tracking up and down supporting both attack and defence. The Hawks were hungry to make the score line reflect the balance of play in the latter part of the game and after (excuse the cliché – but it definitely was…) a goal mouth melee, Messias managed to put the ball in the back of the net a minute before full time. The Hawks were looking dangerous and definitely had more goals in them – unfortunately time was not on their side, so the match remained 4-2 to the Predators.
For a tireless performance, working well in the passing machine, showing intelligence in getting into space and making some stonking runs – man of the match was Jamie Halliwell.