Hawks still giving their all as Benyon’s late strike seals win
The Hawks continued to battle for every point, despite the despair of Tuesday’s relegation at Braintree, with a hard fought 1-0 win in West Berkshire at Hungerford Town.
Manager Steve King made four changes to the team. Osa Obamwonyi and Zach Fagan returned to the defence and Ramone Rose was included in midfield. Nathaniel Pinney replaced the banned Gold Omotayo up front.
The hosts, needing the points themselves to stay above the bottom three, had most of the ball in an instantly forgettable first-half of little goal mouth action. On a very difficult pitch, which made playing decent football on the ground hard, the ball spent much of the time in the air or being mis-controlled.
The Hawks back line dealt comfortably with anything the Crusaders had to offer, which was little of quality. Louie Soares, playing without a number on his back, was the main Hungerford danger man and his free kick from distance was tipped over the bar by a largely untroubled Dan Wilks.
In the second half the Hawks were able to control the game more, with Simon Mensah, who replaced Ramone Rose in central midfield after 52 minutes, enjoying a couple of incisive bursts forward.
Richie Whittingham, who began the season as a Hawks player, forced Dan Wilks into a great save on 71 minutes, as he turned his low drive behind for a corner.
Sam Chaney replaced Pinney with just under 20 minutes to go and he had the Hawks first effort on goal when his far post volley was turned behind for a corner by Marcus Beauchamp. Nicholas Bignall then shot well over the bar when well placed, as the hosts became increasingly desperate for a goal.
With five minutes to go Elliot Benyon was put through one-on-one with Beauchamp and the ball sat up nicely for a confident early finish across the advancing keeper, to secure the first ever points for the Hawks against Hungerford.
Poole Town’s 93rd minute winner at Concord Rangers only compounded the gloom for the hosts.
Whitehawk: Wilks, Obamwonyi, Gibbons, Ijaha (c), Fagan, Ambroisine, Macklin (Adeloye 67), Rose (Mensah 52), Pinney (Chaney 72), Benyon, Ky Marsh-Brown. Subs not used: Kwai Marsh-Brown, Lyons-Foster
Hungerford: Beauchamp, Tyler (c), D John, Rusby, Kilgour, Rees (Whittingham 71), Clark, Herring, Leigh-Gilchrist (Lynch 77), Bignall, Soares. Subs not used: P John, Rodgers Fragata
Hawks man-of-the-match: Zach Fagan