A frantic first half saw Bishop’s Stortford run out narrow winners at Whitehawk, with all five goals coming in the opening 45 minutes.
An own goal and Danny Mills had seen the Hawks come from a goal down to lead 2-1 after just eighteen minutes, but a brace from Elliott Buchanan saw the Blues lead 3-2 at the break.
Pablo Asensio made four changes from the defeat at St. Albans City seven days ago, with new signing Sam Rents coming straight into the starting line-up whilst there were places for Arnaud Mendy, Michael West and Scott Neilson. Due to injuries, Nick Arnold was the only first team player on the bench, with under 18’s Marco Lincoln and Lucas Rodrigues on the bench.
The Hawks started brightly, with David Martin’s ball in picked out Scott Neilson, but he fired wide of the near post.
Despite their decent start, the Hawks found themselves a goal down when Robbie Willmott opened the scoring five minutes in. A ball forward dropped kindly for the Ebbsfleet loanee, and his phenomenal strike from 25 yards dipped just under the bar, giving Craig Ross no chance.
Mills then forced Craig King into a save before the hosts drew level after 16 minutes. New signing Rents whipped in a free kick from the right, and the unfortunate De’Reece Vanderhyde could only divert the ball into his own net.
1-1 soon became 2-1 to the Hawks, as Mills put his side ahead just two minutes later. Neilson played a good ball over the top to the striker, whose brilliant lob over King found the far corner off the underside of the bar for his thirteenth league goal of the season.
Despite that, Whitehawk’s lead lasted just two minutes when Corby Moore’s cross into the area picked out Elliott Buchanan, whose towering header at the back post gave Ross no chance from close range.
The goalscoring didn’t stop there however, as Buchanan made the most of a slip from Sergio Torres to convert from inside the area to give the visitors a 3-2 lead.
The second half was a far more uneventful affair in comparison, with little to separate the sides.
It was Stortford who looked more likely to add to their lead as the second half got underway, with Byron Lawrence finding Willmott but his strike went narrowly over the bar from twenty yards.
At the other end, Neilson then tried his luck from outside the area, but his deflected effort dipped just over King’s goal.
Stortford then should have made it 4-2, as Anthony Church played through Lawrence, but one on one with Ross scuffed the ball wide of the near post.
As the game entered it’s closing stages, Mills’ header could only go straight at King before Ross did brilliantly to keep the score at just 3-2.
Moore was first to a loose ball inside the area, and his low drive was turned away by the keeper before Chuch was denied at the near post from the resulting corner.
The hosts’ best chance of an equaliser came late on, when Neilson fired just over the bar from 20 yards, whilst Ross did well to keep out Church and Moore at the other end.
Report: Anthony Scott