Match Data 2005/2006
Havant & Waterlooville 3
Robbie Pethick (Saunders, 81)
Carl Wilson-Denis (Harrison, 90)
Craig Rand (Bailey, 75)
Scott Rogers (Rose, 88)
Jon French (Hawkins, 76)
The Hawks rose to the top of the Conference South at Westleigh Park tonight after a see-saw match with Weston-super-Mare that eventually ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts. The visitors took the lead nine minutes from the break when Matt Rawlins was left unmarked to nod home at the back post, but Rocky Baptiste leveled the score six minutes later when Weston keeper Ryan Northmore failed to hook his header out of the goal.
The hosts took the lead five minutes into the second half when debutant striker Carl Wilson-Denis smashed home a sitter on the line, but some misjudged defending from Hawks keeper Colin Matthews allowed Marvin Brown to equalize on the hour. Substitute Shea Saunders settled matters with his first Hawks goal in the 81st minute, sending home a through ball from Brett Poate with his first touch.
Wilson-Denis’s addition to the side brought the only change since last week, with Shea Saunders dropping to the substitute bench.
Weston were first out of the blocks. Marvin Brown eluded Tom Jordan inside the first two minutes, but with only Colin Matthews to beat in the Hawks goal, he skewed his shot wide of the post. Seconds later Matthews pulled off a dramatic one handed stop on his line as Matt Rawlins again threatened to put the seagulls into an early lead.
The hosts brought about early pressure through a series of free kicks and corners, with good overlapping build up play forcing the edgy visiting defence into hurried clearances. But little came of the chances and it took the stuttering Hawks twelve minutes to find a shot on target, a superb 20 yard drive from Brett Poate that visiting keeper Ryan Northmore managed to turn round the post.
Robbie Pethick kicked the post in disgust after his long run twisted the ball into the box for a shot that Northmore did well to stop at point blank range. Lewis Hogg and Scott Rogers combined to put Rawlins through for the Seagulls, needing a solid block from Jordan deep inside the Hawks’ box. Pethick picked up the ball and his long clearance picked out Poate on the left wing, chasing toward the box. Had the ball dropped two yards shorter his flick might have looped over Northmore as he rushed to the edge of his area, but the keeper was quick enough to clear away the danger.
On the half hour Scott Walker managed to bypass Darren Annon, finding himself free on the left to approach Matthews for a shot struck straight at the grateful keeper. Pethick replied with a thunderous volley off a cross from Wilson-Denis that rose over the bar from 30 yards.
Several slips left the Hawks defence looking far more exposed than of late, with Jordan and Sharp both making errors as well as Matthews repeatedly racing dangerously out of his area. The seat of the pants defending cost the hosts in the 36th minute, when Walker, again left to his own devices on the left, composed himself for a cross that picked out Rawlins at the back post for a bullet header finish.
Undaunted, the Hawks leveled the score six minutes later. Poate’s corner slipped past target man Jordan in the box to Baptiste behind him, and Northmore got a hand to his header as it crossed the line - scooping it toward Byles who banged the ball in to make sure.
Havant and Waterlooville 1
Jon French picked up a yellow card for tripping up Poate as he raced through a gap in the Weston defence early in the second half. From the free kick Pethick curled the ball beautifully toward the top corner, and Northmore lost his grip to see Byles again bundle the ball into the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul.
Lee Jarman’s error five minutes into the half set the Hawks on course to take the lead. He chased after the ball as it rolled out of play, but picked it up before it had, turning the throw in favour of the Hawks. Poate’s resulting cross dropped in the six yard box for Byles to try with an effort blocked on the line. Northmore though couldn’t recover himself to stop Wilson-Denis steaming in from behind to claim a debut goal. Minutes later only the post stopped the Hawks extending their lead as Jordan nodded a cross from Pethick onto the foot of the upright with Northmore beaten.
But more haphazard defending allowed the visitors back into the game. Chances for Hogg and Rawlins went wide before Matthews misjudged Rawlins’s cross, and caught out of position there was little he could do about Brown’s back post header.
Wilson-Denis spun 180 degrees on the edge of the box to unleash a firm shot stopped on the line, and at the other end French made a good attempt that Matthews managed to push away one handed. Chances continued to come for both sides, with the hot and cold Hawks defence keeping home fans on the edge of their seats.
Wilson-Denis again came close when his shot from the right of the box deflected off a defender to arc onto the post, and Pethick sent a bouncer at Northmore that the keeper dived for and touched round the post with his arm.
With ten minutes of the game remaining it looked likely that the visitors would claim a draw, but the arrival of Shea Saunders in the 81st minute put paid to that. Poate chipped the ball superbly through the Seagulls’ defence and Saunders sprinted round the back to pick it up and poke it past Northmore with his first touch for his first Hawks goal.