Isthmian League

Preview | Ashford United (A)

We have reached the terminus. Whitehawk wrap up their season in Kent as they dance to Ashford with the knowledge that safety is all but confirmed. Barring a major swing in goal difference the Hawks will be playing in the same division next season…and with an experienced manager at the helm.

All roads lead to The Homelands as Shaun Saunders’ side hope to end a turbulent season with a smooth landing. Javaun Splatt sits on 18 goals for the season, whilst the defence that secured a heroic clean sheet on Monday afternoon is likely to look the same with Frankie Chappell starting alongside Alex Malins.

Last time out

Nervy, wasn’t it? The support were splendid, boosted by the implications that coated an anxious pitch. The threat of relegation was very real at 3pm yet, just 90 minutes later, results from pitches far and wide effectively confirmed the Hawks’ league status. Thank you, Lancing.

Promotion hopefuls Haywards Heath Town the final visitors to The Enclosed Ground this campaign, they appeared stunned by the rampant offensive drives Saunders had instilled in his players. Despite the xG being disgustingly higher than their opponents Whitehawk could find no way through as they were forced to settle for a point, and a valuable one at that

The opposition

Move toward the weekend, in a land full of trees and outlets, where another promotion chasing side entertain the Hawks. That’ll be Ashford, settled in second as they await confirmation of their playoff opponent, praying that no one gets injured.

There are fewer sterner sides to face, for the wonderfully nicknamed Nuts and Bolts (we don’t understand either) have recorded the joint-second highest number of goals this season: 78. That’s a little over 2.1 goals per game. But, having been unbeaten in six, they were defeated by the surprising scoreline of 3-1 at the hands of Faversham Town on Easter Monday.

Gary Lockyer slides into the preview with his impressive fourteen league goals whilst Luke Burdon and Thomas Fagg — dangerous players indeed — both have ten to their names. And so the stage is set: the weather is set fair, the players are hungry for pride, and the fans desperate to squeeze the remaining drops of football into their lives before the curtain closes.

Previous meetings

In the reverse fixture the Hawks were simply no match for an overpowering Ashford outfit. A Jay May brace and a Fagg strike saw the Nuts and Bolts take a commanding 3-0 lead into the break and, despite Splatt pulling one back minutes after the restart, the Hawks’ hope faded when Burdon added a fourth, condemning Whitehawk to their first home defeat of the season.

The Hawks last travelled to The Homelands in the FA Cup at the beginning of last season, but again they were defeated comfortably as Josh Wisson and Aaron Condon combined to throw us out of the tournament.

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