Whitehawk boss Jimmy Dack was pleased with his side’s effort despite losing against a Brighton & Hove XI in their latest pre-season fixture.
James Tilley scored twice for the Albion Development side as they came from behind to beat the Hawks 3-2 at the Enclosed Ground. However, the Hawks were leading for majority of the game until a string of substitutions midway through the second half proved decisive.
“Like in previous games this pre-season, I thought we were excellent for a good hour,” said Dack after the defeat. “It is hard to give players 90 minutes when the squad is the size that it is, so we are having to make a lot of changes towards the end of matches.
“And ultimately that tells in the results we have had, where we have been winning for large parts of games until that last ten or so minutes. It is good to give some of the youth players experience in the first team side, as otherwise they won’t learn and develop and realise what to do to get to the level we need. Overall though I am really pleased. We have played two league teams in our last two games and whilst they have given us a lesson in keeping the ball, we are getting fitter all the time.
“It’s about getting ready for August 5 at this stage, and I am really pleased with how we are looking.
The young Seagulls started brightly shooting down the slope, with Aaron Connolly dragging an effort wide before trialist Patrick Ohman saved well in the Hawks goal to deny the Albion forward.
However, it was the hosts who went ahead just after the half-hour mark. Ben Barclay was judged to have his foot too high going into a challenge with Ed Sanders and referee Michael Ryan pointed to the penalty spot. Bayan Fenwick stepped up, and coolly converted from twelve yards.
The Hawks were unlucky not to go further ahead moments later when Connor Tighe was denied by a superb diving save from Robert Sanchez, but only for Albion to draw level before the break. Jordan Davies played a great ball through to Tilley, who one on one with Ohman slotted past the keeper from twelve yards.
Despite that, Whitehawk regained the lead seven minutes into the second half with a degree of luck. Romone Rose was first to a loose ball in midfield, and his rasping drive from 30 yards came back off the foot of the post, only to go into the net off the legs of the diving Sanchez.
Pape Gueye was then just off target for the hosts, before a flurry of changes by Dack allowed Albion to get back into the game and ultimately draw level eight minutes from time. Substitute Max Sanders curled in a great free-kick 22 yards out to make it 2-2, but there was still time for Simon Rusk’s side to win in late on as Tilley picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the area.