The TerraPura Ground
Whitehawk 0 Abbey Rangers 1
The Hawks were cruelly dumped out of the FA Cup, as an 88th minute breakaway goal by sub Ryan Sweeney rewarded Abbey Rangers for a classic rearguard action in a game the Hawks dominated.
Hawks were without the suspended Duane Ofori-Acheampong and James Broadbent, with injured skipper Henry Muggeridge and Kacper Lopata, on international duty with Poland U19, also missing. Youth team captain Max Blencoe made his first senior appearance along with keeper Jordan Perrin.
The Hawks first chance came in the ninth minute when Marvin Hamilton just failed to get a clean header on a Rob Deda free kick. A minute later Lucas Rodrigues was denied as Abbey keeper Stone was quickly off his line. Hawks continued to have the bulk of possession without creating clear cut chances until the half hour mark when a Rodrigues shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Stone. Alfie Rogers followed in the rebound but Stone tipped the ball away before colliding with the Hawks striker. Appeals for a penalty were in vain.
Abbey’s first chance came when Kersley shot over from inside the six yard box after being picked out by a Cousins cross. A minute later Dave Martin won the ball from an Abbey defender and bore down on goal, only to screw his left foot shot wide as Stone closed him down. Abbey then missed a great chance to grab the lead when Taylor headed over.
Playing uphill in the second half, Hawks continued to dominate possession and in the 58th minute Rodrigues had the ball in the net after a clever pass by Martin, only to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag. Sadly for the Hawks, the replay showed the goal should have stood.
Five minutes later overlapping full-back Charles Banya forced a flying one-handed save from Stone. With 20 minutes left Connor Tighe replaced Martin.
On 74 minutes a Rob Deda corner was won by Rodrigues for Hamilton to hit the bar with a clever header from close range. The ensuing goal mouth scramble came to nothing.
Banya went off with concussion to be replaced by Ian Robinson with 15 minutes left. Rogers went close with a shot from the edge of the box and Tighe had a trademark long range effort scrambled away by Stone at the second attempt with four minutes to go.
With just two minutes remaining – and with their first attack of the second half – Abbey took the lead with a swift break away. Sub Sweeney was well picked out at the far post and he kept his cool to finish past Perrin. The goal sparked wild celebrations and Sweeney ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Abbey fans.
The Hawks threw Hamiton and keeper Perrin up front but despite a couple of corners, Abbey stood strong at the back to reach the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time.
Hawks: Perrin, Walsh, Banya (Robinson 76′), Emberson, Blencowe, Hamilton, Rodrigues (c), Kissock, Rogers, Deda, Martin (Tighe 71′)
Abbey: Stone, Pitt, Bishop, Collins (c), Bentley, Taylor, Cousins (Chimbima 71′), Hoppitt (Sweeney 65′), Kirby, Kersley, Robins
Ref: Toby Enston
Hawks MoM: Luke Emberson