Whitehawk v Wealdstone, Tuesday 16th September, 7.45pm, The Enclosed Ground
by Danny Bellringer
Whitehawk missed the chance to go joint top of the table at The Enclosed Ground as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to bottom of the table Wealdstone.
Steve King made two changes to the win at Gosport with John-Paul Kissock and Sergio Makofo returning in place of Jake Robinson and Frantz Tchonang. Lee Hills – captain in the absence of Paul Lorraine – moved to centre back.
The home team started brightly and could have gone ahead after just three minutes – a corner eventually falling to Sergio Torres whose right footed effort screwed wide of the goal.
An even better chance came six minutes later, when a brilliant turn of pace by Makofo left the Wealdstone defence stranded, but a great fingertip save from Jon North saw his shot tipped round the post.
After weathering the early pressure, the visitors came into the game a lot more, with shouts for a handball in the penalty area turned down by the referee, but the next best chance was again for Whitehawk.
Ten minutes before half time a free kick was won and taken by Sam Deering on the right, but Callum Driver’s header was over the bar.
A minute later Wealdstone nearly went ahead – a sweetly struck 30 yard shot from Luke Pigden slipped through John Sullivan’s fingers, but he was able to grab the ball at the second attempt.
The keeper was not so lucky immediately before half time as Wealdstone won a free kick in the right hand corner. The ball was swung in left footed by Pigden, only for the bounce and curl of the ball to elude the defence and the keeper to leave it nestling in the far corner of the net.
It proved to be the last kick of the half and the visitors went in ahead at the break.
Whitehawk struggled to build any momentum and rhythm in the second period, with the visitors happy to put men behind the ball and soak up the crosses and corners.
Tom Cadmore came close with an effort which North pushed round the post, and Lee Hills had an effort which flashed across goal, but Whitehawk weren’t able to break down the resolute Wealdstone defence.
After 71 minutes however The Hawks came close to equalising. Deering pulled a corner straight to Ahmed Abdulla on the edge of the area, and his first time shot whistled just over the bar via a Wealdstone deflection.
The introductions of Jake Robinson and Matthew Barnes-Homer failed to change the pattern of play as the home side became more and more frustrated.
In the third and final minute of stoppage time, a cross by Deering was caught at the second attempt by North, before the referee’s whistle brought an end to a disappointing night for the hosts.
After the game King admitted: “We picked the worst moment to give the worst performance of the season, when we could have gone top of the league. We didn’t do enough coming down the hill in the second half, we dominated possession without really looking like we were going to score today.”
Whitehawk will look to continue their superb away form at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday, where a victory will give them five wins on the bounce away from The Enclosed Ground.
Whitehawk MoM: Lee Hills