Whitehawk’s three game unbeaten run was snapped on Saturday afternoon as they succumbed to a narrow defeat at Faversham Town.
On a crisp October afternoon in the heart of Kent, the Hawks stumbled over their own feet as they failed to ever leave first gear. Manager Ross Standen made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Burgess Hill Town on Tuesday, with Ollie Munt and Tegan Freeman coming in to lower the average age as Henry Muggeridge and Charlie Lambert found themselves on the bench.
And it proved to be an even affair until the 16th minute. Both sides operating in a 4-2-3-1 formation, it unequivocally showed as there was truly little of note. That is, until a bouncing ball in the Whitehawk box from an in-swinging corner caused chaos before falling to the feet of Joe Denny, who dispatched high into the triangular net.
Chances for the Sussex club were at a real premium. Freeman came closest for the visitors in the opening half with a soaring strike from distance that sailed harmlessly over the netting as the Hawks were restricted.
The hosts were resolute in defence whilst Jordan Allsopp shone on the wing with his silky footwork. It was from his corner that Faversham so nearly doubled their advantage, if not for the fantastic cat-like reactions of Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke. Rooted on his line, it was the ‘keeper in fine form who brilliantly clawed Lewis Chamber’s bullet header away from goal. Strong wrists, those.
The Hawks began the second half with increased intent but failed to break through the core of their opponents. Muggeridge was on having replaced Lew Unwin, but there was little diverting the hosts’ dominance. As the yellow sun poked through the thick layer of cloud the hosts threatened on frequent occasion.
Whilst Javaun Splatt attempted to re-create his stellar strike from the week previous from similar range, Stroomberg-Clarke continued to be busy at the other end. Dean Grant had caused the Hawks’ backline issues with his speed and it showed vividly here as he snuck in behind the defence. Baring down on goal, he spanked the ball goalwards but was denied by the leaping Hawk in the net.
And soon after the hosts had a penalty. Grant in again, he was pulled down to the ground by Adam El-Abd. No hesitation from the referee, the finger firmly pointing to the white spot. Allsopp standing over the ball with a degree of confidence, his spot-kick clipped the top of the crossbar as it plunged into the netting behind the stand.
A let-off. It is moments such as these that make one grip on to an element of hope. But that hope never arrived. Charlie Lambert arrived as Omarr Lawson departed, and he tested Luke Watkins from range soon after with a fierce strike from range that was collected with relative ease.
But there would be no grand finale, no point to steal as the Kent side comfortably saw out the remainder of the fixture. Frustrating from the outset, the Hawks struggled throughout without fashioning an opportunity that would make one leap off of their seat.
A chance for an instant reply beckons. A further trip to the bordering county in the East awaits as newly promoted Corinthian are next up on the season schedule.