Match Data 2008/2009
Havant & Waterlooville 0
Jay Conroy (Royce, 57)
Luke Nightingale (Webb, 60)
Scriven (OG) (40)
Jamie Price (Fitzpatrick, 80)
Marco Adaggio (Wood, 86)
Michael McGrath (Dodd, 90)
The Hawks remain in search of their first home victory in two months after suffering a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Worcester City that drops them into the bottom half of the table.
City’s opener came in calamitous fashion five minutes from the break after Kevin Scriven tried to punch clear a corner from Jamie Price at his near post, succeeding only in sending the ball squarely into Hawks defender Jay Smith for a rebound that trickled agonisingly back over the line.
But there was nothing as fortuitous about the side’s second goal. Three minutes into the second half Price launched a throw into the box that bounced kindly for Marco Adaggio, and the striker fell backward to power an outlandish overhead kick past Scriven’s full length dive.
As the number of injured players in the stand reaches saturation point, Hawks Boss Shaun Gale was forced into two changes from last weekend’s victorious FA Cup side; resorting to a three man front line that saw Craig Watkins and Luke Nightingale either side of Paul Booth. Matt Gray’s recent back injury forced a mix and match midfield of Jay Smith, Jamie Collins and Gary Holloway in front of the usual back four.
Matters could have been vastly different had Nightingale’s early effort gone the right side of the post after Ian Simpemba’s back header knocked on a long throw from Jay Conroy.
Minutes later a second effort from Nightingale also went wide after the striker picked up the ball free on the right side of the box and sent a shot spiraling past the post.
Worcester’s attacking stance did the side credit after the recent slew of defensively minded visitors at Westleigh Park.
Price’s hard cross forced into the six yard box deflected back to the 18 yard line for Adaggio to make his first attempt.
Collins took a free kick quickly after Conroy was tripped on the edge of the Worcester box, but his ball forward to Holloway came to nothing as the midfielder’s pass square into the box was kicked away.
Conroy’s throw then came to Watkins for a shot into the box that deflected back out to Booth, who fired off target from 18 yards.
At the other end Shabir Khan’s dangerous cross was head over the bar by Collins, and the corner was pushed away far enough for Adaggio’s eventual 25 yard drive not to trouble Scriven.
Gary Walker made a brave attempt to hook a shot over his shoulder when he came up against Graham Ward’s cross facing the wrong way, but the pre-cursor to Adaggio’s later spectacular finish was under hit and came up short of the goal.
Price struck a brace of corners on the half hour that warned of what was to come. His first was turned into the side netting, and the second punched clear by Scriven.
As half time approached, the Hawks were denied an obvious looking penalty when Watkins’s feet were taken from under him by Ward as the striker raced for the line, but his protests were ignored by the referee.
The influential Price then saw a free kick pushed wide by Scriven in mid-dive, before the number six turned back the corner that led to Worcester’s opener. Scriven miss hit his clearance this time, and the ball thudded into the back of Smith, who was largely oblivious to it as it bounced down and rolled over the line before Collins could get a foot to it.
Havant and Waterlooville 0
Worcester City 1
Watkins sent a cross skimming off heads in the box at the start of the second half and the ball deflected for Collins to stub a shot toward Danny McDonnell.
Worcester doubled their lead three minutes in through an audacious piece of finishing by ADAGGIO. Price’s throw from the sidelines looked innocuous enough, but wasn’t picked up as it bounced free in the box and the striker’s overhead bicycle kick flicked the ball on past Scriven at full stretch.
Seconds later the Hawks were lucky not to be three down when Rob Davies’s long range blast whistled wide of the post by inches.
It wasn’t until twenty minutes from time that the disjointed Hawks threatened at all, shortly after substitute Danny Webber’s shot clipped off feet in the box and arrived safely with McDonnell.
Dan Royce controlled the ball in midfield and helped work it forward for a long diagonal to Watkins, racing up the line. The striker turned back a perfect cross from the corner and Booth connected in front of goal for a downward header that McDonnell managed just to get down in time to stop.
As the game began to wind down though, it became apparent that Worcester had the measure of the Hawks and even the possibility of a consolation goal became remote as the visitors used all three of their substitutions in the last ten minutes to halt the flow of what was ultimately another surprisingly difficult test for the home side.