After what seemed like a lifetime the first game of the new season was upon us. After a disjointed pre-season and with a thread bare squad we entered the first game with a little trepidation. It was a step into the unknown with the two teams having never played each other before. Walsall Phoenix having been relegated from the Premier league last season but had a calibre which had seen them promoted as champions the year before that.
And so it was Phoenix who got the game under way with the Hawkins lads looking resplendent in their new kit, which was once again provided and sponsored by NTM. On a clear and hot afternoon both sides looked to blow away the cob webs. Each side looking to find each other’s weakness, probing first down the left then switching play to the right. After an even first 15 minutes it was Phoenix who took the lead. A smart move down their right released the lively center forward who struck a crisp shot past Brogan and into the net. A decent move from the visitor which resulted in a well worked goal.
Hawkins were stirred into life having gone a goal behind and it wasn't long before a slick passing move saw Josh break between two defenders and onto a through ball. As the keeper came running out Josh was able to look up and square it to Scott who side footed into an empty net. Even if there was a suspicion of offside it was again a well worked goal.
As both sides looked towards half time for a well-earned breather the Phoenix left winger opened his legs and managed to sprint through a gap before riffling a shot into the roof of the net. The visitors heading into the break with a 2-1 lead. Something of an unjust score as the Hawkins defence well marshalled by Maccie had looked more than comfortable for large parts of the first half.
Half Time - Hawkins 1 v Walsall Phoenix 2
The second half started with the managements strong words ringing in the player’s ears. Changes were made and from the off the side looked more balanced and stronger in the middle of the park. Leighton and Sam combining well in the center of the park, Lucas like a pit bullsnapping into challenges being strong but fair in the tackle and not giving any Phoenix players time on the ball.
The Hawkins equaliser was to come from the right hand side, Seb combining well with Lucas and putting Josh through on goal, the keeper managed to get a hand to his strike but only succeeded in helping the ball into the net. By now Hawkins had started to show really fight throughout the team and having come from behind twice went on the attack looking to take the lead. This was to come from another well worked goal with Louie and Sam exchanging passes before Sam put Scott clear into space. Scott then picked out Josh who struck a crisp left foot shot past a helpless keeper.
Phoenix tried to get back into the game but came up against a solid wall in defence, on the odd occasion they managed to break through they found the new lean and 4-inch taller Brogan more than a match for anything they could throw at him.
Hawkins put the game to bed with what was to prove the last action of the game, Josh pushed into the box looking to go around the keeper who brought him down, getting up to try and finish the game he was then taken out by the Center back. Not often you could award two penalties in the same piece of action. Maccie coolly stepping up to slot home the fourth and final goal. That’s three from three since taking over the responsibility.
All in all, a good work out for the team. A winning start and a full match into the legs of each player. Next week sees another home game against Cannock Town Blues who were beaten last season by the odd goal in 5