Whitehawk’s new National League South campaign got off to far from ideal start after suffering defeat at Weston-super-Mare.
Debutant Shawn McClousky scored two second half goals for the hosts as they prevailed 3-1 at the Woodspring Stadium.
The Hawks had taken the lead sixteen minutes in through an own goal after good work from Mike West, but only for the hosts to go into the break level after Jake Mawford’s header on the stroke of the interval.
It was definitely a tale of two halves for Pablo Asensio’s side, with plenty of encouragement to be taken from the first 45 minutes ahead of a busy first month of the season – which continues with a home match against Dartford Wednesday night.
The Hawks started brightly, with Rodrigo Mann whipping in a useful ball from the right, but Ahmed Abdulla failed to get a clean strike away, before Gabriel Yan’s ball in found Sergio Torres who failed to get his strike on target.
The first sign of McClousky’s talent was evident inside the opening quarter of an hour. After beating the offside trap to go through on goal, but after taking the ball around Lucas Covolan, he couldn’t hit the target after losing his balance under pressure.
However, it was Asensio’s side who broke the deadlock sixteen minutes in. West broke down the right hand side, and he drilled a low ball bound for Danny Mills, but in his attempt to clear, Jason Pope could only deflect the ball into the bottom corner of his own net.
The Hawks continued to push forward as the first half wore on, with Mann charging down the right flank before cutting in, but his effort with his weaker left foot went straight at Luke Purnell, before the Seagulls keeper pulled off a great save to keep the Hawks at bay.
Duncan Culley played the ball in from the left to Javier Favarel, who’s cracking first time effort was bound for the top corner, but Purnell managed to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch.
And Purnell’s excellence paid off for his side just before the half time whistle. Dayle Grubb’s corner from the left picked out Mawford in the centre, who beat Covolan – who committed to punching the ball out – to the set-piece to head into the unguarded net.
Weston then went in front within seconds of the second period getting underway. McClousky did well to burst down the right hand side before beating Albi Llenga and then cutting inside, and his drive across the face of goal found the net despite Marvin Hamilton’s best efforts to clear.
The Hawks then thought they had equalised five minutes later, as Torres’ free kick from the right was helped on and eventually dropped to Culley in the middle who fired in from close range, only to see a very late offside flag raised by the assistant to chalk the goal off.
Mills then picked up the ball on the left touchline, before bursting through and cutting into the penalty area, beating Sekani Simpson, but one on one with the keeper saw his effort saved by the body of the advancing keeper from a tight angle.
Abdulla then let fly from 25 yards out, but saw his strike whistle just wide of the corner before Weston added a damaging third goal.
Poor organisation at the back from the Hawks saw McClousky stay onside as he ran onto a through ball from midfield, and one on one with Covolan, made no mistake.
McClousky, on loan from Bristol City, then had the chance to complete his hat-trick late on. Covolan misjudged a long ball that bounced over his head and played through the striker, but sub Roman Marimon did brilliantly to cover and clear off the line.
Pictures by David Hunt.