This is how Howard Griggs at the Argus saw the game …
STEVEN KING admits his Whitehawk side are still learning after their five-match unbeaten run ended with a 2-0 defeat at home to Sutton United.
The Hawks remain in a play-off place in Vanarama Conference south but King knows they are far from the finished article.
Tom Cadmore was sent off for the second match in succession last night as King’s side failed to match a strong, physical and foul-mouthed Sutton outfit.
While the visitors were not particularly pleasant to watch, they ended up deserved winners on a disappointing night at the Enclosed Ground.
King said: “Sutton have been together for two years. They were the best side I saw last year and they are a full-time outfit.
“It is a learning curve for us. I know we have a good side here but we are still a work in progress and we will go again on Saturday.”
King was without two key players in midfielder John-Paul Kissock and centre-back Paul Lorraine, which meant a full debut in defence for Frantz Tchonang.
The Hawks needed a tremendous save from John Sullivan to prevent them from falling behind in the third minute. The former Albion keeper reacted superbly to thwart Jessy Reindorf when the ball reached the big Sutton striker right in front of goal.
Left-back Lee Hills tidied up the danger when a cross from Reindorf looked like catching out the home side on 27 minutes.
Whitehawk played most of the football, enjoying plenty of possession and forcing a serious of corners but they failed to trouble visiting keeper Alan Julian throughout the opening 45 minutes.
When referee Andrew Laver booked a third Sutton player early in the second half, it appeared the visitors’ non-stop moaning was wearing his patience thin.
Ironically, it was from a soft free-kick somewhat harshly awarded against Whitehawk that Sutton took the lead in the 56th minute.
Michael Spillane swung over the ball and captain Charlie Clough powerfully headed home.
Hawks’ task was made harder in the 64th minute when Cadmore was shown a straight red card for an alleged elbow on Reindorf.
It was a poor decision by the referee who seemed to be bullied into ordering off Cadmore by the Sutton players surrounding him when it was no more than a yellow card offence.
That was all Sutton needed, though, as they killed the game from that point on and Whitehawk never looked like grabbing an equaliser.
To complete a miserable night for the hosts Craig Dundas ran through on 89 minutes to slot home a second goal.
King was disappointing with the marking which allowed Sutton their first goal.
He said: “Danny Mills switched off and it cost us.
“I always do my homework. I knew he was their best header of the ball so we put our best header of the ball on him but he switched off.
“I didn’t think there was anything in the first half, if anything we had a couple of better opportunities.
“They were a big, strong, powerful side, they were in our faces and they closed down the game well in the second half.”
Whitehawk are still waiting to hear the outcome of a scan on Lorraine’s knee injury suffered in the win at Bath City last Saturday but King fears he could be out as long as six months.
Kissock hopes to be back in action by the weekend.
Whitehawk: Sullivan; Sankofa, Tchonang, Cadmore, Hills; Deering, Torres (sub Robinson 83), Abdulla, Kuajbi; Mills (sub Barnes-Homer 83), Makofo (sub Driver 65). Subs not used Gargan, Cronin.
Sutton: Julian; Amankwaah, Clough, Hart, Evans; Southam, Spillane (sub Wellard 89); Hayman, Dundas, Osei-Kuffour (sub Lockwood 83); Reindorf (sub Bignall 80). Subs not used: Taylor, Lovelock.
Referee: Andrew Laver.