Whitehawk bowed out of the FA Trophy with defeat at Chipstead following an exceptional second half turnaround from the Surrey side.
The Hawks arriving on the back of a wonderful 4-0 victory at Corinthian on Tuesday evening, they opened with a similar intensity and snatched an early lead. A floated free-kick dropped to the left foot of Adam El-Abd who — lurking on the edge of the box — fizzed a vicious drive past the arm of Matthew Kirbey before coming to rest in the upper portions of the netting.
The side from Brighton were good for their lead. Playing with a smooth flow throughout the half, Henry Muggeridge crashed an effort against the post as Chipstead rode their luck before the half time whistle stunted the momentum.
And then things took a turn. ‘The Chips’ came frothing out of the traps, playing with a serious intensity that combined with the Hawks’ laboured second half approach. The caveats were littered from the start as Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke pulled off a miraculous double save but they could withstand no more as Kieran Lavery levelled.
Just under 25 minutes remained when Lavery floated into a yard of space to spank a left-footed effort towards the corner. It brushed the fingernail of Stroomberg-Clarke but nestled in the side of the net. The hosts were relentless, the Hawks were helpless. Time ticked towards penalties but instead Chipstead earned a spot-kick of their own: Henry Blackmore tumbling Karn Miller-Neave in the box.
Lavery to do the honours, smashing the ball down the middle. It collided with the feet of Stroomberg-Clarke but reared up into the roof of the net. Turnaround complete, Whitehawk exit the FA Trophy.