Hawks 2 Cray Valley Paper Mills 0
The Hawks recorded their fifth league win on the bounce to overcome leaders Cray Valley PM, who had not lost on the road this season. Lucas Rodrigues started in place of the suspended Dave Martin for the Hawks.
With the Hawks playing downhill, both sides largely cancelled each other out in the first half hour, with Rodrigues looking the main threat for the home side. A great run down the left wing and a cross shot narrowly wide being his best moment after 20 minutes.
The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes, when a Marvin Hamilton header from a Henry Muggeridge free kick was well saved by Andrew Walker, only for Kacper Lopata to score his fourth of the season from close range.
The Hawks midfield were keeping the ball well with short passes, mixed in with the occasional long diagonal ball from Hamilton and he found Rodrigues six minutes before half time. The Hawks’ winger brought the ball down beautifully before cutting inside and curling his shot narrowly wide.
Charles Banya replaced Fintan Walsh, who was unwell at half-time, with Luke Emberson switching sides.
Hawks doubled their lead six minutes into the half with a magnificent move that started with keeper James Broadbent passing the ball out to Lopata. The ball was worked through midfield by Emberson, Rhyle Ovenden, Muggeridge and JP Kissock, before the Hawks skipper’s decisive second contribution, releasing Duane Afori-Acheampong who finished stylishly across Walker into the top corner for his 10th of the season.
The league leaders immediately responded by introducing 41-year old ex-Hawk Kevin Lisbie and ten minutes later replacing leading scorer Warren Mfula but they struggled to create clear chances, despite plenty of possession. When they did threaten, Broadbent was very secure in the Hawks goal.
The Millers best chance to get back in the game was a Lisbie header which bounced against Broadbent’s far post in the 82nd minute. His fellow sub Kweku Ansah failed to show composure from the rebound, having a shot blocked and then lobbing over the bar.
Hawks: Broadbent, Walsh (Banya 46’), Emberson, Kissock, Lopata, Hamilton, Rodrigues (Deda 93’), Unwin, Ofori-Acheampong, Muggeridge (c), Ovenden
Subs not used: Campbell, Torres, Munt
Millers: Walker (c), Semakula, Smith, Tumkaya (Flack 82’), Gayle (lisbie 52’), Babalola, Edgar, Morath-Gibbs, Attenborough-Warren, Mfula (Ansah 62’), Ibrahiym
Subs not used: Hysi, James
Yellow cards: Unwin (Hawks), Semakula, Edgar (Millers)
Referee: Peter Lowe
Hawks MoM: JP Kissock