Isthmian League

Preview | Beckenham Town (H)

Home at last. 

For the Hawks it’s been a Winter without rhythm as we steer into a congested February, staring at an eight-game month. For now the rains, winds and frosts seem to have passed as The Enclosed Ground welcomes back its supporters for the first time in 20 days. The Din End has waited long enough for some familiar faces.

With consistency lacking the recent results have not gone in favour of Shaun Saunders’ side. Last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hythe Town ratifying such fact, this weekend’s hosting of high-flying Beckenham Town could be perfect in returning to the objective sat out in pre-season: promotion.

Last time out

For those that travelled the many miles along the scenic coastline you probably don’t want reminding of this. There the Hawks were in their changed strip of blue, soon to be feeling blue themselves after a looping Liam Smith header sealed all three points on a surface one might describe as agricultural. 

Luca Cocoracchio made his Whitehawk debut as Nathan Cooper missed out through suspension, but he was helpless in his marauding endeavours as the hosts’ backline prevailed. Luke Robinson and Stefan Wright dazzled down the channels, yet there was no man in blue to steer it home.

The loss leaves the Hawks two points adrift of the playoff places, though with a two-game advantage over fifth-placed Sheppey United. 

The visitors

That’ll be ‘The Becks’, stood sternly in second just a single point shy of league leaders Chatham Town after defeating their promotion rivals in midweek. And after romping to first-place in last season’s SCEFL Division, Jason Huntley’s side are hoping to make it back-to-back promotions after two memorable campaigns.

Losing just once on their own soil, Beckenham’s away form tells a slightly different tale with six wins and five defeats on their travels, with hefty defeats at Hythe, Sevenoaks and Littlehampton. But a memorable FA Cup run that ended humbly at home to Dagenham & Redbridge, this really has been a quite exquisite season for the Kent club.

Louie Theophanous, that’s who you should look out for. Boasting many talents on a football field, scoring goals is certainly one of them with the forward bagging nine in the league thus far, and a further nine in cup competitions. Finding the net in consecutive outings, the Hawks defence will be similarly up against it on Saturday afternoon as they look to complete a first league clean sheet since January 7.

Previous encounter

It will perhaps go down as a season-turning afternoon. Back in November, when the Hawks had yet to taste defeat in the league, their run abruptly ended at Eden Park Avenue with the hosts claiming a 2-0 victory, Theophanous scorer of the second via the penalty spot.

With the Hawks unbeaten in their first 12 league games up to that point, the eight since have witnessed four defeats and four wins. In fact, you’ll have to journey back to November 5 to find the last time Whitehawk drew a match. Could say we’re due for one…

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