Herne Bay 3 Whitehawk 1
The Hawks were in search of their first win of the season in north Kent, as Jude Macdonald welcomed back Luke Emberson and Lucas Rodrigues into the starting eleven.
After a cagey opening from both sides on a slick surface, it was the home side who settled first with some neat football in midfield. Mark Smith saved well down to his left from a Tushuan-Tyreece Walters shot on 17 minutes.
The Hawks took the lead after 25 minutes. Ronnie Sobowale burst into the box, and when Henry Muggeridge floated in a cross from the right, the ball beats Bay keeper George Kamurasi, as he tried to turn it over the bar for a corner.
The Hawks then went in search of a second with Rodrigues and Sobowale both looking threatening. First a Rodrigues cross was almost turned past his own keeper by Laurence Harvey and then Muggeridge shot wide when well-placed following more good approach play by Rodrigues.
Bay had their best chance eight minutes before half time when a long ball down the right eluded Harry Shooman. Walters’ shot from a tight angle went across the face of goal.
After 55 minutes Adam El-Abd was unlucky to be booked for his first foul as Bay threatened to break. Some feisty exchanges in midfield then resulted in Rodrigues being shown yellow for a late tackle 10 minutes later. Zak Ansah also saw yellow for a late challenge.
After 68 minutes some great work by Rodrigues down the right led to a cross to the far post that Sobowale was on the point of slotting home when he went down under a challenge from behind, with the referee awarding a goal kick. Three minutes later Rodrigues opened up the defence again but this time Sobowale couldn’t dig the ball out from under his feet with the goal gaping. Only two more minutes had gone when Rodrigues again played in Sobowale, who’s effort this time was saved by Kamurasi.
With just under 15 minutes left, a disagreement between El-Abd and Dave Martin after Bay had broken from midfield, led to both players being shown yellow cards for the coming together. For El-Abd, it was a second yellow, so the assistant manager was sent off.
Cheered on by a noisy crowd, Bay sensed a chance of getting back into the game and with eight minutes to go the equaliser arrived when Bradley Stevenson’s cross was headed back across goal for a simple finish for Harvey.
As 90 minutes approached a surging run by Tyreece-Walters was ended by Marvin Hamilton sliding in from behind, with the Hawks midfielder being shown yellow. Bay sub Anthony Edgar curled the resulting free kick round the wall and when the ball bounced down off the underside of Smith’s cross bar, Harvey followed in to head home.
With the last kick of the match on 95 minutes, Ansah was left with a free run on goal after Smith rushed out of his box to attempt to head clear, to complete a remarkable turnaround for the home side. This was a game that the Hawks should have won, even before the sending off that changed everything.
Herne Bay: Kamurasi, Cooper, Lawrence, Harvey, Johnson, Carrington (Kamara 47’), Walters, Campbell (Edgar 77’), Ansah, Stevenson, Hibbert (Grant 69’). Subs not used: Carlton, Dawodu
Hawks: Smith, Emberson, Shooman, Hamilton, Chappell, El-Abd, Rodrigues, Muggeridge, Sobowale, Abdulla, Martin (Tighe 90’). Subs not used: Ovenden, Unwin, Blackmore, Wilson
Goals: Harvey 82, 90, Ansah 95 (Bay) Muggeridge 25 (Hawks)
Yellow cards: Ansah (Bay), El-Abd, Muggeridge, Rodrigues, Hamilton, Martin (Hawks)
Red card: El-Abd
Referee: Daniel Doyle
Man of the Match: Lucas Rodrigues