2015/2016 Season Review – Part One: Pre-Season
Following the end of the season, we will be taking a month by month look at how the eventful 2015/2016 season panned out for The Hawks, starting from Pre-Season in Summer 2015, right up to the Playoffs at the end of the season. In this first part, we will look at how Pre-Season 15/16 unfolded for The Hawks.
The 2015/2016 season featured a rebrand for the Football Conference, renaming it as “The National League” with the North/South leagues being branded “National League North/South”.
Whitehawk were looking to bounce back from heartbreak in the 2014/2015 Conference South Playoff Final in which they lost 2-1 away to Boreham Wood after extra time and manager Steve King took the decision to release Pa Saikou Kujabi, Ahmed Abdulla, Serge Makofo, Sylvestre Guyonnet and Frantz Tchonang. Midfielder John-Paul Kissock also left The Hawks to join Ebbsfleet United after receiving a significantly better contract, whilst Osei Sankofa, Tom Cadmore and Marvin Hamilton also left The Hawks for various reasons.
In July, The Hawks made their first signings with powerful Midfielder Arnaud Mendy and experienced winger Danny Stevens signing from National League sides Lincoln City and Torquay United respectively.
The pre-season friendlies began with a trip to National League side Dover Athletic, who The Hawks resoundingly beat 4-1. Next up was another trip East along the coast to Ryman South side Hastings, again The Hawks came out on top with a 1-0 win. Games against teams along the coast continued with a game away at recently relegated SCFL side Eastbourne Town, which resulted in a 2-0 Hawks win with goals from Sam Deering and Danny Mills.
Our only pre-season friendly at Home this season came against League Two side Crawley Town. Things started badly for The Hawks, with Gwion Edwards scoring early on, but goals again from Mills and Deering sealed a 2-1 victory. The final friendly result came with a 3-1 victory away to Ryman South team Merstham, with new-boy Danny Stevens and a double by Jake Robinson giving The Hawks a 100% record in pre-season.
On the eve of the new season, The Hawks added three additional players to their squad. The first was Argentinian Defender Juan Cruz Gotta, who previously was playing in the Columbian Premier Division. The second was French Midfielder Steph Ngamvoulou, who was signed after impressing manager Steve King after being on trial with The Hawks after leaving relegated Staines Town the previous season. The final signing before the season began was Right Back Chris Sessegnon, who was previously with fellow National League South sides Ebbsfleet United and Eastbourne Borough.
First up in the 2015/16 season was an away trip against Hayes and Yeading United, which will be the first match covered in Part Two!