Substitute Lucas Rodrigues scored a hat-trick in 25 minutes as Whitehawk produced a fine second half performance to come from behind and win at Three Bridges.
Having trailed 3-1 at half-time, Hawks fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst, but Jude MacDonald’s side turned the game around to prevail 5-3 at Jubilee Fields and move into the top five.
It was a disastrous start for the Hawks, who fell behind in just 40 seconds. John Lansdale won the ball and found Andy Sesay, who broke between full back and centre back and one on one with James Broadbent fired home via the inside of the post.
However, Jude MacDonald’s side made amends twelve minutes in when neat play between Henry Muggeridge, Connor Tighe and John Paul Kissock saw the former latch on to a ball through and the skipper found the top corner past Tarell Annakie.
The hosts went close midway through the half when Ruben Soares Junior’s ball in from the right was brought down nicely by Andre McCollin, who was allowed to turn but his low drive went just wide of the post.
They went even closer moments later when John Lansdale’s free-kick deep into the Hawks area was met by Tadley Bromage, but his looping header bounced off of the top of the bar.
Bridges went back in front after the half hour mark. Antone Douglas’s free-kick picked out Alex Laing on the right, who’s good first time volley across found McCollin who put it on a plate for Soares Junior and the winger couldn’t miss from inside six yards.
The Hawks’ evening got even worse five minutes before half time. Former Hawk Brannon O’Neill intercepted a loose pass in midfield and was allowed to drive forward, before firing a low left footed strike which was deflected beyond the reach of Broadbent and into the bottom corner.
Lucas Rodrigues came on at half time as the Hawks changed shape, and the sub wasted no time in making his mark. As the Hawks pressed high up the pitch, Rhyle Ovenden knicked the ball off the Bridges’ keeper, allowing Dave Martin to tee up Rodrigues who couldn’t miss.
The Hawks went close to drawing level after the hour when Marvin Hamilton’s long throw eventually picked out Muggeridge at the far post, whose header was deflected onto the underside of the bar by O’Neill on the line. Duane Ofori-Acheampong was denied from the rebound before keeper Annakie came out of the scramble with the ball in his grasp, with the Hawks fans behind the goal celebrating prematurely.
Bridges should have made the game safe when Curtis Gayler won possession and put McCollin through, but one on one with Broadbent he blazed high over the bar. Minutes later, Hawks broke quickly again and Ovenden picked out Rodrigues in the box to level the scores.
Five minutes later Hawks were in front for the first time as Matias Torres met a Hamilton long throw to score his first ever goal with the back of his head at the near post. And just three more minutes had gone when Rodrigues completed his hat-trick, converting a Martin left wing corner.
TBFC: Annakie, Laing, Hall (c), O’Neill, McCollin, Sesay, Soares-Junior, Douglas, Bromage, Lansdale, Gayler (Tolfrey 89). Subs: Stone, Gunner, Nicholls, Muwanga. Yellow: O’Neill, Ofori-Acheampong.
WHK: Broadbent, Walsh, Emberson, Kissock, Torres, Hamilton, Muggeridge (c) (Rogers 90), Unwin (Rodrigues 45), Ovenden, Tighe (Ofori-Acheampong 59), Martin. Subs: Munt, Deda. Yellow: Martin.
Goals: Sesay 1’, Soares Junior 33’, O’Neill 40’. (Three Bridges); Muggeridge 12’, Rodrigues 52’ 69’ 77’, Torres 74’ (Whitehawk)
Yellow Cards: O’Neill (Three Bridges); Martin, Ofori-Acheampong (Whitehawk)
Referee: Shelby Elson
Hawks Man of the Match: Lucas Rodrigues