In-form Whitehawk took a massive step towards a play-off place after a 1-0 win at home to Maidstone United.
David Ijaha got the goal on the day that saw the Hawks move up to sixth, with a game in hand on fifth-place Hemel Hempstead, as Pablo Asensio’s side racked up their fifth straight win. However, the game had its talking points.
There was little to separate the sides in a competitive first half, with Alex Flisher’s long throw eventually dropping to Dan Sweeney at the far post, but his effort was saved at point blank range by Craig Ross.
The Hawks got what proved to be the decisive goal two minutes before the break. Maidstone failed to clear a corner, and the ball fell to Jordan Rose, who teed up Ijaha. From twenty yards out, the midfielder fired a cracking half volley that gave Lee Worgan no chance as the ball found the bottom corner for only his second goal of the season.
There continued to be little between the sides going into the second half, with Sam Rents blazing over before Dumebi Dumaka forced Ross into a good save to his right at the other end.
With the Stones pressing for an equaliser, the game’s talking point came six minutes from time. Sweeney’s ball from the centre circle flicked off the head of defender Nick Arnold on its way through to Charles Banya. At this point, the linesman raised his flag for offside, but referee Ian Cooper waved play on. Banya then fired the ball across to Flisher, who slotted in to draw the Stones level. However, the referee came over to consult with his assistant, and disallowed the goal and awarded the offside, leaving the visiting players fuming.
The Hawks had a chance to double their lead late on, but Danny Mills fired high and wide when through on goal.
The win sees Pablo Asensio’s side move within a point of Hemel Hempstead in the final play-off spot, with the two due to meet next weekend after the Hawks’ midweek trip to Truro City.