Howl from the hills, shout from the sands; it’s time for Non-League Day!
Ah yes, that wonderful weekend when Mark Pougatch’s dulcet tones softly hum through the nation. The spotlight is on England, but those with a seething passion for football opt for the quainter settings and bobbly pitches at this time of year.
A time to celebrate the sport’s foundations, a time to support those who play the game for nothing other than the sheer of enjoyment of it. Songs in the stands, Stellas in the sun – the escape from the garish, the arrival of the rustic. A weather forecast of shimmering promise, it’s another critical dose of Whitehawk football as Sevenoaks shimmy to the shore.
Last time out
Revitalised by a first win in 98 days at VCD Athletic the week prior, high-flying Ramsgate were next to surrender the sword as the Hawks continue to rejoice in some late season form. David Ijaha donned the red shirt of Whitehawk once more as he started in the midfield following his switch from Dartford. But in the Spring sun the Hawks offered little attacking threat in the opening half, as the Kentish visitors opened the scoring shortly after the restart.
Tijan Jadama was presented with the ball mere yards from the goal to slam home the opener after Ashley Miller worked the ball crisply across the face. But the hosts would fight back. Another defensive slip allowed Javaun Splatt to poke it past goalkeeper Jacob Russell, before the forward stroked it effortlessly into the netting.
And as the harsh winds and renewed confidence revitalised Whitehawk the second arrived shortly after through a wonderfully struck Ashley Wadhams thunderbolt that flew between post and paw to hand the Hawks the win.
The appointment of manager Harry Hudson last month has brought a breath of fresh air to the town of Sevenoaks. An almost unrecognisable XI to the one that were comfortably defeated by Whitehawk in early December, there is a strong sense of optimism as they attempt to pull themselves out of relegation trouble.
Whilst their home form has been drastically transformed — respective 3-1 and 4-1 triumphs over Herne Bay and VCD Athletic — Hudson is yet to record a first three points away from The Bourne Stadium. Positioned in the relegation playoff position of 18th and lying a mere four points off the Hawks, it is another afternoon with significant league implications.
Since his switch to Sevenoaks in February, Freddie Parker has recorded three goals in four games, including a brace in the impressive performance over VCD last weekend with the forward likely to lead the line once more.
That aforementioned fixture in the early days of the most festive of months saw the Hawks strike on three separate occasions as they departed north-west Kent with a richly deserved three points. Alex Malins scored on debut, before Peter Gregory and Billie Clark capped off a fine afternoon in the bitter chill.
On The Oaks’ previous venture down to the coast the spoils were very much shared as Ahmed Abdulla struck through a crowded box to fire the Hawks into a 30th minute lead, but their work was undone late on as Dan Parkinson rescued a point.