It’s back to business for Shaun Saunders and his Whitehawk side as we prepare for the visit of Ahmet Rifat’s Wingate & Finchley.
The Hawks earned their first point of the campaign on Tuesday evening in quite remarkable fashion, earning a 0-0 draw against Hastings United despite playing with ten men for much of the night, and then nine men for the remaining 10 minutes.
Jack Dixon and Ryan Worrall both saw red against their former sides in a match that burst into life in the second half. The Hawks still posed a threat throughout, almost clinching it at the death through Charlie Lambert.
And so it’s onto our first Saturday home fixture of the season, with Saunders and his side hoping for three points to kick-start the campaign.
It was an unchanged starting XI for the visit of Paul Barnes’ U’s on Tuesday, with Stefan Wright and Reece Price-Placid earning a spot on the bench to the expense of Tom Cadman and Sinn’kaye Christie.
Wright came on after just 12 minutes, slotting into the left-back position in the aftermath of Dixon’s red card. He was class, too, and might have picked up the Man of the Match award on another day.
Two games in, and Wingate & Finchley’s record of one defeat and one win demonstrates the inconsistencies that have plagued their side over the last five years.
Looking over their shoulder for much of that time, manager Rifat is hoping this will be the season of success, though last Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Folkestone Invicta was not the finest of starts.
Victory at the death on Tuesday night at nearby Haringey Borough by a 2-1 scoreline, there’s plenty of promise in this side as they look to finish in the top half of the division for the first time since 2018.
One to Watch | Zack Newton: Joining the club in this summer, the 27-year-old attack-minded midfielder has much experience of the division having played for Worthing, Welling United, Horsham and Cheshunt.
Moving on from Cheshunt after a four-year spell at the north London club, Newton brings a breath of fresh air to Rimat’s side, and is already raising eyebrows after scoring the last minute winner at Haringey Borough in midweek.
The last meeting between the two sides came during the 2018-19 campaign, when the Hawks would ultimately suffer back-to-back relegations.
‘The Blues’ claimed victory at The Enclosed Ground, coming back from a 1-0 deficit to storm into a 3-1 lead, before Luke Emberson pulled one back for the hosts late on.
In the reverse fixture in N12, a last gasp Alieu Njie strike earned his Wingate side a share of the spoils after Rhyle Ovenden handed Jude Macdonald’s side an early second half advantage.