Isthmian League

Early Strike Downs Hawks

Whitehawk 0-1 Merstham

Whitehawk’s chances of securing safety in the Bostik Premier League took a blow as they were defeated by a Merstham side who kept their playoff hopes alive.

The Moatsiders started the game in style with Gus Sow hitting a brilliant curling effort past debutant Hawks keeper James Broadbent from the corner of the penalty area. The visitors had plenty of chances to extend their lead during the first half, as they dominated the home side with good opportunities falling to Simon Cooper and Kenny Beaney.

In the second half, Whitehawk looked like a totally different side. They took the game to their opponents, with Lucas Rodrigues having 3 chances in quick succession to equalise, with a block from defender Tom Kavanagh and a couple of headers going narrowly wide.

The Hawks had two decent penalty shouts turned down. Nat Pinney was felled by Cooper in the 66th minute as he shaped to shoot but referee Michael Chard inexplicably awarded a corner, from which Lucas Rodrigues’ header was cleared off the line by Kershaney Samuels

Ten minutes later Yannis Ambroisine was pulled back by Tutu Henrique at yet another corner but the offence was cleverly committed on the blind side of the referee, who waved away Hawks’ appeals.

The chances and domination from Whitehawk continued into the closing stages, throwing players forward at every opportunity but they struggled to fashion any more clear cut chances. Merstham were hanging on at times, though they could have sealed a win just before full time, when Broadbent made a great flying save to deny substitute Fabio Saraiva.

The visitor’s defence stayed strong to see the game out and seal a huge three points to make the Bostik Premier League playoff race even tighter. The Hawks on the other hand can count themselves thankful that results elsewhere went their way to keep their chances of survival alive.

Hawks: Broadbent, Walsh, Muggeridge (c), Unwin (Emberson 55′), Ambroisine, Goode, Rodrigues, Kissock, Tighe (Christie 20′), Ovenden (Marsh-Brown 74′), Pinney – Subs Not Used: Amoo, Deda

Moatsiders: Tangara, Abnett, Harrison, Cooper (c), Henriques, Kavanagh, Samuels (Saraiva 67′), Beaney, Figueira (Cook 90+1′), Sow, Michael-Percil (Bennett 83′) – Subs Not Used: Hutchings, Antwi-Nyame

Goals: Sow 6′ (Merstham)

Yellow Cards: Tangara, Bennett (Merstham)

Attendance: 380

Hawks Man of the Match: Lucas Rodrigues