It’s back to the league and back to the land of Essex for the Hawks with Canvey Island the destination for the first time since 2012.
A lot has occurred in those nine seasons since – the Hawks would be crowned champions that year, stay in the National Leagues for five years before coming tumbling down, only to now work their way back up.
For our hosts they have suffered just the one relegation in that time, returning to the Isthmian Premier via the playoffs ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. They finished an impressive 3rd last season, too, defeated by the eventual winners, Aveley, on penalties in the semi-final.
But here we are now, both in the same division once again going toe-to-toe. The Hawks in fine form, The Gulls just starting to pick up some wins as we move deeper into September…
Shaun Saunders added Imran Kayani to his squad earlier in the week, and he is expected to be involved at the weekend as the Hawks eye a third successive league win.
Tommy Brewer returned to the midfield whilst Ryan Worrall slipped into right-back on Tuesday evening, coming in for Hamish Morrison, who missed his first ever game (and minute!) for the club since arriving at the start of last season.
Hailing from a part of Essex perhaps new to some, they are one of two clubs on the island competing in this division – Concord Rangers being the other one.
In what has been a bit of a slow start for Brad Wellmen’s side – three consecutive league defeats sandwiched between an opening day win and their most recent win – things are starting to shine a little brighter on the Essex Riviera, following their 5-1 FA Cup victory over Lowestoft Town last weekend.
One to Watch | Evans Kouassi: Finding the net on 24 occasions for the club last season, the well-travelled Ivorian forward has swiftly followed that up with three strikes this campaign already.
The former Wealdstone, Chelmsford City and Billericay Town striker proved influential in his side’s 21/22 promotion-winning season, firing in 31 goals. He’s certainly found a home here and, for a side prone to leak goals on occasion, they will need to get the best out of him once again.
The last encounter between the two clubs was during the 2012/13 season, when the Hawks recorded a quite memorable victory on home soil.
1-4 down with 25 minutes to play, the Hawks magically came back to win 5-4 – a certain Charlie Walker getting on the scoresheet, too, in what was his last ever goal for the club prior to this campaign.
And in the reverse fixture Whitehawk proved too strong again, earning a 2-1 win courtesy of strikes from Sam Gargan and Jed Wallace – the latter’s second goal for the club, who now plays at West Bromwich Albion!