Hawks were cruelly denied a vital three points in their relegation fight, as Aaron Goode’s acrobatic effort hit the bar in the fourth minute of added time.
Hawks boss Jude Macdonald included Luke Emberson in midfield for the Easter Monday derby at Nyewood Lane, against a Bognor side that had scored 20 goals in the last four meetings between the teams. His side started on the front foot and Fintan Walsh hit the post with a glancing header from a Henry Muggeridge corner after just five minutes. From the rebound, Rocks’ keeper Dan Lincoln turned Lucas Rodrigues shot over the bar.
The home side soon forced the Hawks onto the defensive and 12 minutes in, James Broadbent did well to save from Joe Tomlinson and block the follow up from Jimmy Wild.
The Rocks were soon playing with their customary pattern of passing the ball from the back. Their main threat was winger Mason Walsh. However, when the Hawks did occasionally attack, they looked quite dangerous and half way through the first half, Muggeridge played in Pinney, whose effort was blocked by Lincoln. Rhyle Ovenden followed up but his shot hit the bar.
The home side enjoyed the majority of possession and did most of the attacking for the rest of the half. Harvey Whyte and Reece Myles-Meekums both having shots blocked in the box.
A minute into the second half Broadbent saved superbly from Wild, who was through on goal. After 52 minutes, Lincoln then did likewise, when Lucas Rodrigues cut in from the right 1 on 1 with the keeper. Two minutes later, Fintan Walsh then did brilliantly to tackle Mason Walsh as he shaped to shoot from close range after some neat interplay on the edge of the box. Rocks’ sub Jimmy Muitt, who had scored 8 times in his last three games against the Hawks, very nearly conjured up the breakthrough as a dribble down the right ended with his ball across the face of the goal eluding Wild.
It was Broadbent who again came to the Hawks rescue after 72 minutes, saving from Mason Walsh. Four minutes later, Fintan Walsh’s through ball released Rodrigues, but once more Lincoln denied the Hawks top scorer.
Five minutes from time Rodrigues’s cross found sub Ky Marsh-Brown free at the far post, but his right foot shot from close range went high over the bar. The Hawks continued to press in the five minutes of added time and after sub James Fraser had twice been denied by Lincoln, it was Aaron Goode’s turn to hit the woodwork with an overhead kick that most of the travelling Ultras thought was destined to send the net bulging for three priceless points.
A clean sheet and a good away point counted for very little when the news came through that Wingate & Finchley had staged a comeback and somehow won at Haringey Borough. Hawks would now go into the last match of the season with their fate not entirely in their own hands.
Hawks: Broadbent, Walsh, Goode, Kissock, Ambroisine (Marsh-Brown 68’), Christie, Rodrigues, Emberson, Pinney (Fraser 77’), Muggeridge (c), Ovenden.
Subs not used: Unwin, Amoo, Deda.
Rocks: Lincoln, McCormick, Wood (Dunn 64’), Tomlinson, Field, Sanders, Whyte (c), Gilot (Scutt 79’), Wild, Myles-Meekums (Muitt 64’), Walsh.
Subs not used: Scutt, Leigh
Yellow cards: McCormick, Muitt (Rocks)
Referee: Tristan Greaves
Hawks MoM: Henry Muggeridge