Bittersweet result for the Hawks
The Adelaide Hills Hawks resumed service after the Pandemic break with a rollercoaster 3-3 draw with second placed South Adelaide Panthers in Saturday’s State League 1 encounter. The Hawks encountered a side full of players with experience in the NPL including the league’s top scorer Jonathan Rideout, Alex Rideout, Mitch Nicholson, Ryan Veitch and former Manchester Youth player Jack Rudge.
The Hawks sitting in 5th place resumed service from where they left off months ago after an emphatic victory over Birkalla. As the whistle sounded, crisp passing movement in the Hawks midfield of Daniel Ryles, Daniel Pauli, Lewis Farquhar and Jake Forrester saw fullbacks Nick Walker and Owen Smith getting forward in dangerous positions.
The Hawks first goal was well worked with Walker playing inside to Pauli on the right hand side who clipped the ball into the penalty area for Ollie Grant to glance the ball inside the right hand post with a well-executed header in the 12th minute.
The home side let Panthers back into the game with some calamitous defending from a free kick which found Rudge free to glance the ball past Goalkeeper Connor Hudson into the net. To the hawks credit they continued to boss the middle of the park and create numerous opportunities.
Pauli extended the Hawks lead on the 38 minute mark when he capitalised on an error from Panthers goalkeeper Ryan Veitch to slot the ball into the net. At the break, it would be fair to say that the Hawks had the better of the half but they were fully aware that the Panthers were a strong side who would come at them in the 2nd half.
On the 58 minute mark Daniel Hosking put the hawks further into the lead with an outstanding angled finish after a crafty pass from Forrester. Hawks then introduced new signing Kyle Markham into the fray for Grant who had put in an excellent shift for the home side. Markham has returned to the club after experience in the Queensland and Victorian NPL as well as stints with White City and Birkalla. His experience will be invaluable to the club as the season moves on.
On the 63 minute mark, the Hawks handed South Adelaide a get out of jail card as Jonathan Rideout was fouled in the penalty area. It is the fourth penalty the home side has conceded in the first 5 games of the competition which has been a frustration for the hawks coaching staff. Rideout converted the penalty which lifted the visitors.
The hawks began to drop deep into their own half with centre backs Nathan Elliott and Jake Loechel trying hard to nullify the Panthers presence in the penalty area. Jimmy Lenzi was introduced for Forrester who had put in a great effort after returning from injury. South began to exploit the Hawks left side as Rideout began to cause havoc in the area. The Hawks introduced Sam Bowman and Reece Markham as fresh legs to try and stem the flow. Too much second guessing and poor pass selection really put the home side under pressure and South capitalised in the last game with a finish bundled in at the far right post.
It was a bittersweet pill to swallow but a point against one of the top sides none the less. Best for the Hawks were Ryles, Pauli, Forrester and Farquhar. The hawks travel to West Best to play Fulham at 3pm next Saturday and will be working hard to address some of the defensive issues on the park at training this week.