Whitehawk 2-2 Hastings United
Whitehawk extended their current run of good form to just one defeat in 16 games after a 2-2 draw against top of the table Hastings United.
The Hawks got off to a flyer after just 8 minutes with a Dave Martin free-kick being struck into the penalty area to find Marvin Hamilton and then Lucas Rodrigues, who headed across goal for Fintan Walsh to flick the ball home for a 1-0 lead. The Arrows could and should have equalised after 21 minutes after the ball fell to the usually clinical Ben Pope following an Ollie Black long throw, but he fired narrowly wide from three yards out.
After 27 minutes Hastings were awarded a penalty when Warren Mfula got in behind Marvin Hamilton only to be brought down inside the box. After a long delay, Ben Pope put the penalty in the bottom corner, despite James Broadbent going the right way.
Seconds before half-time controversy occurred when a Dave Martin free kick from the right was turned against the underside of the bar by Walsh and a scramble on the goal line ensued, with Hamilton forcing the ball goalward. United keeper Louis Rogers clawed the ball back as it partially crossed the line with Walsh appealing for a goal, while the assistant referee remained unmoved.
Whitehawk started brightest after the restart, with decent build up play resulting in half chances for Lucas Rodrigues and Ahmed Abdulla. These chances were met with equally good defending by Hastings. Rodrigues kept causing Hastings problems and he restored the Hawks’ lead after 61 minutes with a clever volley going in off the post following a Dave Martin corner.
Just three minutes later, Hastings were level after another Black long throw flicked off Hamilton at the near post for Pope to backhead the ball home. With the game entering the closing stages Hastings called upon Daniel Ajakaiye and Lanre Azeez from the bench, two players that have caused Whitehawk plenty of problems in their previous meetings this season and they did appear to immediately make a difference with the visitors looking much more dangerous.
As the clock hit 90 minutes, Hastings had two golden chances to grab a winner with keeper Broadbent off his line. Firstly the Hawks keeper blocked an Ajakaiye shot, then Walsh crucially cleared a Pope attempt off the line, to save what may well be a crucial point for the Hawks.
Hawks: Broadbent, Emberson, Banya, Kissock, Walsh, Hamilton, Rodrigues, Abdulla, Muggeridge (c) Tighe (Ofori-Acheampong 82’), Martin – Subs Not Used: Unwin, Torres, Christie, Ramsis
Arrows: Rogers, Black, Aboagye, Elphick, Stone, Elliott, Mfula (Ajakaiye 75’), Pope, Adams (c) (Worrall 69’), Beale (Azeez 65’), Dixon – Subs Not Used: Pogue, Pool
Goals: Walsh 5’, Rodrigues 61’ (Whitehawk), Pope 28’, Pope 64’ (Hastings)
Yellow Cards: Hamilton, Abdulla (Whitehawk); Dixon, Adams, Black, Stone (Hastings)
Hawks Man of the Match: Lucas Rodrigues