Abdulla header wins it for Hawks

Whitehawk 1 Sittingbourne 0

An Ahmed Abdulla header midway through the first half gave the Hawks an important three points and closed the gap on league leaders Hastings United.

Playing downhill in the first half, the Hawks dominated the game, with Lucas Rodrigues on the right-wing causing all sorts of trouble for the Brickies defence. His best chance came in the first ten minutes when he was played in by Connor Tighe, but his first touch took him wider than intended and the ball was cleared Cory Walters-Wright for a corner. Tighe then released the winger again and this time his cross found Dave Martin whose goal bound effort was blocked by Lex Allan.  After 20 minutes Tighe has a 25-yard strike well tipped away by ex-Hawks keeper Jordan Perrin.

The Rodrigues menace continued, when he beat two men and went down under a challenge in the box, but the referee waved away the penalty appeal. Tighe then played a great reverse ball inside full-back Chris Webster to release Rodrigues, whose pull back found Abdulla, only for his goal bound effort to be deflected over the bar by a diving Allan in the six-yard box.

Just after the half hour, a wayward cross field ball from Brickies right-back Ben Fitchett found Rodrigues who went past Webster only to be bundled over by Walters-Wright, who was shown a yellow card. Dave Martin curled the resulting free kick into the box, where Sinnkaye Christie beat Perrin to the ball for Abdulla to nod home from inside the six-yard box.

Five minutes before half time another good save by Perrin kept the Brickies in the game, this time turning away a fierce shot from Charles Banya. The half ended with Rodrigues heading narrowly wide from a Fintan Walsh cross, with Perrin beaten.

The second half provided little in the way of excitement compared to the first. After 57 the Brickies finally threatened with Roman Campbell and then Cameron Brodie forcing James Broadbent into a double save. Five minutes later Abdulla could have had a second when he dummied Allan on the edge of the box but then sliced his left foot shot wide.

After 67 minutes Rodrigues beat Walters-Wright on the by-line and then hit the near post with his shot from close range, with Perrin expecting a cross.

The remainder of the game became increasingly scrappy with no chances for either side and frequent stoppages for fouls.

Hawks: Broadbent, Walsh, Banya, Kissock, Christie, Hamilton, Rodrigues, Abdulla, Muggeridge (c), Tighe (Ofori-Acheampong 78’), Martin

Subs not used: Unwin, Zabadne, Blackmore, Elwood

Brickies: Perrin, Fitchett, Webber (c), Brodie, Allan, Walters-Wright, Barnard (Everett 25’), Eze, Campbell, Sollis (Stace 63’), Caney-Bryan

Subs not used:  Holder, Neita, Phillip

Yellow cards: Martin, Ofori-Acheampong (Hawks); Walters-Wright (Brickies)

Referee: Andrew Connor

Attendance: 243

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