Whitehawk FC U18s reached the FA Youth Cup 1st Round Proper for the first time in their history with a 4-3 win away at Phoenix Sports FC on Wednesday night… writes Jude MacDonald.

The Hawks are the first Sussex side through the competition’s full stage, with the possibility that Hastings United and Burgess Hill will join them along with the winners of Lewes vs Steyning Town.

The game started poorly with the Hawks conceding after just 34 seconds with a shot from outside the box squirming underneath Gregor Shaw in the Whitehawk goal. The Hawks struggled to put a foothold on the game, with their rhythm disrupted well by the industrious nature of their opponents.

Whitehawk could and should have had a penalty but for the claims to be waved away. Not long after in the 14th minute, Robert Deda burst into the box and was brought down under the challenge of the Phoenix centre back. Alfie Rogers stepped up to smash home and make it 3 out of 3 from the spot this season.

At this point Hawks continued to press and were rewarded by taking the lead for the first time. Lewis Broughton feed a short pass to Joel Daly who did all the work in racing 50 yards towards the PSFC goal. His shot was turned in via a huge deflection giving the Hawks the lead they deserved.

Whitehawk took control in the second half and after 4 minutes, Rogers picked up his second of the evening. Deda again surged forward and fed striker James Waters who had peeled to the left flank and delivered an inch perfect cross, which was angled in by Rogers. A great header, 3-1.

Man of the Match, Deda, then stole the show. Picking up a loose ball in his own half, he drove forward before smashing his shot inside the keeper’s left hand post from distance. 4-1.

Hawks should have been home and hosed by then, but Phoenix kept pushing and trying to go forwards despite the scoreline. With 5 minutes to go PSFC were awarded their first penalty after the ball struck Joel Daly’s hand. Alfie Aldridge converted for his second of the game and it inspired the young PSFC side to a late rally.

They gained their second penalty just moments later after the young PSFC forward was brought down under the challenge of Robert Malila. This time Aldridge went the opposite direction and the score was now 4-3.
Fortunately for the Hawks it was too little too late and they progressed through, seeing out the final minute of injury time.