Bishop’s Stortford 4-2 Whitehawk
Bostik Premier League – Game 16
This match belonged to Blues veteran striker Jamie Cureton, who at the age of 43 returned to haunt the Hawks with a superb hat-trick, as he achieved the milestone of 350 career goals.
The Hawks played some neat football for the first ten minutes, with Connor Tighe having a shot saved and then Nat Pinney just failing to convert when free in front of goal. However, once the home side struck with their first attack through Cureton after 12 minutes, there was only one team in the game. The striker collecting Jack Thomas’s through ball and lobbing over the stranded Melvyn Minter.
The hosts remained on top and Luke Callander almost broke clear to shoot at goal but was denied by a last-ditch tackle by Fintan Walsh. Then Ryan Charles fired wide after bursting through from midfield whilst Alfie Mason had a header held by Minter. In the 28th minute Minter did well to save from Charles following a low cross from the right by Callander. The lead was doubled shortly afterwards in the 32nd minute when Cureton cut in from the left and finished with an angled shot into the far corner.
The Blues’ number nine nearly completed his hat-trick two minutes later after Minter beat away his shot. Three minutes from the interval a cross from Charles went straight across the six yard box with no one getting a touch.
Stortford soon took control again on the restart and an excellent attacking move ended in the 51st minute with Cureton finding space to fire a shot just wide of the far upright. The third goal wasn’t long in coming after that. In the 56th minute Cureton’s strike on the turn was saved by Minter but the ball ran loose to Callander who shot into an empty net. The striker almost netted again three minutes later but Minter kept his shot out with his legs.
The hosts’ fourth goal came twenty minutes from the end and it was fitting that Cureton’s landmark goal was a superb effort. Collecting a pass forward from Isaac Nkosi on the left flank, a good 30 yards out, he struck a perfect volley over the top of Minter into the far corner.
After a couple of substitutions, the Hawks had more possession and rallied in the last ten minutes. A back-header from Ryan Henshaw bounced over the home keeper, was tipped onto the bar and tapped into an empty net by Pinney. He then quickly doubled his tally with an explosive shot on the turn into the top corner from well outside the box, much to the surprise of the Hawks fans behind the goal.
Blues: Kitscha, Nkosi, Sampayo, Thomas (Wescott 82′), Robbins, Henshaw, Mason, Renee, Cureton, Callander (Miles 72′), Charles (Kyprianou 55′)
Subs not used: Gregan
Hawks: Minter, Walsh, Cooney (Broughton 84′), Drage, Christie, Sanders (Unwin 71′), Muggeridge (c), Emberson, Pinney, Fraser (Sisimayi 71′), Tighe
Subs not used: Goode, Moore
Goals: Cureton 12′, 32′, 70′, Callander 56′ (Blues); Pinney 81′, 83′ (Hawks)
Man of the Match: James Fraser