Isthmian League


Okay, own up, which one of you had Whitehawk to win 4-0? Football, aye! Always throwing up shards of wonder. Who knew a Tuesday evening could bring such joy? Memories of Faversham discarded, flushed down the nearest loo with not a remnant in sight. For you see, the Hawks were superb. Ruthless, rampant: it was complete football.

And so, beneath the eight bright white lights in the depths of Kent’s quiet countryside, the players filtered out of a once cricket pavilion onto the luscious green grass. A small band of jovial Hawks taking their places behind the hosts’ goal, this Autumn clash was underway.

Michael Dome-Bemwin debuting in the heart of the blue midfield alongside the returning Henry Muggeridge and Charlie Lambert, the latter re-taking his spot on the right-side of the midfield. James Fraser the final switch in personnel as Ross Standen named four changes to that defeated side at Faversham Town on Saturday.

But Lambert’s swift impact showed immediately. Just two minutes in and the first of many attempts were registered. The wide-man’s optimism embedded in the mind, his whack from range took a slight deflection as it dribbled into Aiden Prall’s grasp.

Jump forward five minutes and the Hawks had a very early lead. Lambert again, he floated into an acre of space away from James Trueman before collecting the ball in his stride. A quick jink to the right and there it went, zipping off his boot before crashing into the netting via another slim deviation off a man in green and white hoops.

Whitehawk in the ascendency. There was some fine, flowing football on display with Lambert the liveliest; the intricate outlet. Andres Tobon strived for a leveler at the opposite end with a cross that whooshed across the face of goal, evading all of the crowded shirts in the box.

Yet for all their wasteful endeavours the Hawks had another. Lambert picked out on the right-hand side, the goalscorer slapped the ball over everyone except Muggeridge who, with time to deliver a cross, did exactly that. The delivery was beautiful, the header was exceptional. Javaun Splatt rising highest, the talisman guided his header gorgeously over Prall and under the crossbar.

Blink and you’ll have missed the third. Imperious, ingenious, irrepressible. Luke Emberson — playing with true lustre throughout — delivered a towering cross into the Corinthian box for Fraser to run onto. Separation between the centre backs catered for the chance, and Fraser grabbed it with terrific aplomb, placing his header into the bottom-left corner with sheer elegance.

Stylish. That was Whitehawk throughout the floodlit night. Omarr Lawson soon raced onto a Splatt flick-on as the bubbly midfielder bore down on goal. But the shot was a weak one, and it was Prall who thwarted the Hawk.

As the final first half minutes wound down to a close it was met with a Corinthian attack, their first real one of the contest. The ball sprayed out to Louie Clarke on the left, his shot arrowed towards the near post, only for Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke to react mindfully by pushing it away. From that resulting corner, the ball dropped onto the dome of Emmanuel Oloyede. No one close and an infinite amount of time, the header was straight at the Hawks’ shot-stopper.

Restart. Whitehawk with a three goal advantage and reveling in the moment. The defence had been assured and the midfield had worked as tirelessly as the frontmen were clinical. All thriving in their individual roles but Oloyede quested for a comeback. The ball, soaring high amongst the stars, returned to orbit with a rightful crash off the forward’s boot. A blistering volley, it sailed marginally above the woodwork.

The clock struck sixty and that meant one thing: Billie Clark making an appearance at the expense of a tiring Lambert. And it was Clark who restarted the ignition along the wings. His speed wreaking havoc, the cautioned Jack Holland had to act carefully in defence.

As the seconds passed the game looked increasingly won from a Whitehawk perspective. Lew Unwin crossed the byline in replace of a slightly wounded Fraser as the Sussex tourists were settled in their play and command. Michael Dome-Bemwin, flourishing in the midfield, had set the tempo from an early minute. Up and down the blades of grass he rode without any whiff of a mistake in sight.

Oloyede did eventually find the net, albeit from an offside position as everything pointed to a Hawks victory. Hmmm, how best to erase any sort of doubt? Score a fourth of course. Step up: Splatt.

Those leggy legs opening proceedings up a notch, the ball bestowed upon the sprinting forward. One-on-one with Ryan Sawyer, a large void appeared at the near post. As casual and as calm as can be, Splatt squeezed his effort between post and glove to confine Corinthian to complete confusion.

It was pure dominance. A categorical contrast from Saturday’s feeble performance, the Hawks were hungry for further feasts. Clark was soon clattered by Prall as the former tapped the ball past the scampering goalkeeper. A shiny yellow brandished from the pocket, it was accompanied by a rather nonchalant Splatt free-kick that cruised over the top of the bar.

One final change: Lloyd Cotton on, Henry Blackmore off. Victory was assured but Splatt yearned for his hat-trick. In what will now be known as ‘Splatt range’ — as every game since his stupendous strike against East Grinstead Town he has attempted to replicate it — the #9 again looked for that top-right stanchion. With one mind on the cameras around the cozy ground Prall theatrically dove to his left, punching the circular object in the other direction.

Additional time replaced normal time as Clark continued in his electric nature. Dancing down the left, he cut inside before unleashing a venomous strike that caught the laces. Destined for the upper echelons of the net, Prall sprawled to his left to tip the ball away breathtakingly.

A glance at the referee’s watch signaled the end. Prior to this eve Corinthian had triumphed in their previous three league matches, scoring nine goals in the process. On this night they were made to look inferior. All excelling at their jobs, that red flag of Whitehawk flaps in a Kentish breeze as they claimed Gay Dawn Farm as one of their own.

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