St. Albans City compounded Whitehawk to further misery after the Hawks fell to a heavy defeat against a side who started the day on the foot of the National League South table.
Charlie MacDonald had already put the Saints a goal up before Juan Cruz Gotta saw red for the Hawks, with MacDonald converting the resulting penalty and going on to complete a first half hat-trick.
Ian Allinson, who masterminded Boreham Wood’s play-off final win over Whitehawk last season, had recently been appointed as manager at Clarence Park, and his side continued to press forward in the second half. Louie Theophanous made it 4-0, before MacDonald and then substitute Jonathan Edwards completed a miserable day for Pablo Asensio’s side.
In truth, the Hawks never got going, and fell behind just seven minutes in. Harry Anderson lifted the ball across from the right, and former Crawley Town striker MacDonald headed home from close range.
Whitehawk almost drew level moments later, when David Ijaha did well to work his way inside the area, but dragged his effort wide at the crucial moment.
The Hawks’ afternoon was then about to get a lot worse, however, when Juan Cruz Gotta was judged to have been the last man when bundling over MacDonald inside the area, and was sent off by Chris O’Donnell. MacDonald stepped up to take the penalty, and duly converted – sending Craig Ross the wrong way.
City continued to be a threat going forward, with Lee Chappell’s free kick striking the bar before MacDonald completed his hat-trick just after the half hour mark. Louie Theophanous let fly from range, and his deflected effort came back off the post. However, an unmarked MacDonald was first to the rebound, and had a simple tap in.
The Hawks almost got on the scoresheet before the break, but Danny Mills’ effort at the far post was blocked on the line by Josh Staunton after the hosts failed to clear a corner.
Into the second half, and the hosts continued to put the Hawks under pressure. Anderson won possession on the edge of the penalty area, but his effort was denied by the post before Theophanous did brilliantly to turn away from substitute Paul Lorraine before his great strike cannoned back off the bar and away.
However, Theophanous did get on the scoresheet twenty minutes from time. MacDonald turned provider for his strike partner, who finished low beyond the diving Ross from inside the area.
There was little rest-bite for the Hawks, though, as St. Albans, whose biggest win had been 3-0 prior to the match, made it five just minutes later. A mix up in the Hawks defence allowed MacDonald through, and he took the ball around Ross and finished from close range.
Two minutes from time, the Hawks’ miserable day in North London was compounded when substitute Jonathan Edwards converted from the penalty spot after Oran Swales was pulled down inside the area.
One of the few positives for the Hawks was the introduction of Lucas Santos Rodrigues, one of the Hawks’ many promising Under 18 players, made his first team debut – playing the last ten minutes at Clarence Park.
By Anthony Scott
Photos by David Hunt