Whitehawk 3-2 VCD Athletic
The Hawks eventually earned a deserved opening day win over VCD, after throwing away a two goal lead.
Hawks could have led after just 4 minutes when a goalmouth scramble saw Marvin Hamilton have a shot at point blank range saved by Tony Coxhall in the Vickers goal. A few minutes later Hamilton prevented VCD from scoring themselves, heading an Alastair Gordon shot behind for a corner.
Hawks took the lead on 16 minutes with another defender, Brighton and Hove Albion loanee Kacper Lopata, rose to head home a corner by captain Henry Muggeridge. Hawks had an opportunity to double their lead 7 minutes later as they were awarded a penalty after Lucas Rodrigues was brought down inside the box. However Dave Martin saw his spot kick hit the post.
Not long after that, the Vickers could have drawn level, but James Broadbent making a terrific save to deny a VCD attacker, pushing it behind for a corner which ultimately came to nothing. The Hawks doubled their lead after 30 minutes with Muggeridge turning from provider to scorer following a brilliant break. After a great save by Broadbent, Hawks play up-field to Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who set up the captain to make it 2-0 with a curler from the edge of the box.
The 2-goal cushion lasted just 90 seconds with the Hawks’ defence failing to deal with last season’s Isthmian South East top scorer Charlie Macdonald. He was given far too much space in the box and slotted home to make it 2-1. VCD were then awarded a penalty after Lopata brought down Macdonald while attempting to clear. The Vickers skipper picked himself up to take the kick and although his initial attempt was saved, he tapped in the rebound to complete a 4-minute comeback.
Just 6 minutes into the second half, the Hawks could have retaken the lead as Lucas Rodrigues did brilliantly on the near side to beat the VCD defence to tee up an incoming Henry Muggeridge, who was unable to find the back of the net from close in. Duane Ofori-Acheampong then saw his low shot go agonisingly wide of the far post.
The Hawks dominated throughout the second half but failed to create clear cut chances. All that changed after 78 minutes when Fintan Walsh crossed into the box towards Lucas Rodrigues who wasn’t able to connect, but behind him was Ofori-Acheampong who tapped it home for a 3-2 lead.
Controversy followed 5 minutes from time as Charlie Macdonald, on a hat-trick, bore down on goal after a defensive mix-up. Just as he seemed ready to shoot into an unguarded net, he went down under a challenge from Brodbeant, but fortunately for the Hawks the referee gave nothing.
The game from then onwards faded away and the Hawks were able to see out what was a well-deserved victory.
Hawks – Broadbent, Walsh, Banya, Emberson, Lopata, Hamilton, Rodrigues (Tighe 87’), Kissock, Ofori-Acheampong, Muggeridge (c), Martin (Rogers 79’) – Subs Not Used: Robinson, Blencowe, Waters
Vickers – Coxhall, Simms, Brown, Roberts, Eweka, Mahal, Gaggin (Toluwanile 9’[Steventon 74’]), Gordon, Odusanya (Lyoubi 88’), Macdonald (c), Ogboe – Subs Not Used: Rosenfield, Vincent-Edwards
Goals – Lopata 16’, Muggeridge 30’, Ofori-Acheampong 78’ (Whitehawk), Macdonald 32’, 36’ (VCD)
Referee – Peter Lowe
Yellow Cards – Lopata, Rodrigues, Tighe (Whitehawk); Roberts, Mahal, Eweka (VCD)
Attendance – 220
Hawks Man of the Match – Duane Ofori-Acheampong