Isthmian League

Preview | Chatham Town (H)

Lights, camera, action… 

Few games carry this kind of magnitude, this kind of feeling as you clank the turnstile round. Bulbs bright as you enter, it’s 4th hosting 2nd – another home game against promotion-chasing opposition.

But this one’s a little bit different. Chatham Town are the only side Whitehawk have yet to face in the league this season after the weather called off our December date.

Does that matter? Time will tell, but victory for Shaun Saunders’ side sees them leapfrog tonight’s opponents, as the permutations continue to shower down.

Making it five matches unbeaten at home on Saturday, the Hawks welcomed back Joel Daly to the fray as Tommy Brewer served the start of his suspension.

As for ‘The Chats’, well, they’ve got one of the best home records in the country. Yet to lose with 12 wins and four draws, it’s their away form that has kept them away from that elusive top spot as they look to close the gap on league leaders Ramsgate to just one point this evening.

Last time out

Not too bad, was it? Cold as it was in the Sea End in that second half, the damage was already done as a fine Alfie Rogers brace helped his Hawks to a 3-1 victory over play-off rivals Sevenoaks Town.

Just the one change from that win at Burgess Hill Town seven days earlier, Khris Oti kept his place and recorded two assists, heading the ball onto the crossbar for Rogers to record his first, before a neat lay off played it straight into his path to rifle home shortly after.

Nathan Cooper guided home a third shortly after the restart from another Charlie Harris cross with the result all-but secured, until a tremor of nerves emerged late on a David Kawa bundled the ball over Sam Freeman’s line to wipe out the clean sheet.

Three points, three goals; it was another fine showing by the league’s most in form team as we move deeper into March.

The opposition

A side that certainly pose a threat, their first 12 league matches at home this season all spawned victories for ‘The Chats’ of Medway, yet they’ve followed that up with four consecutive draws as they begin to look over their shoulders.

Promoted alongside Sheppey Utd last season, both newcomers have acquitted themselves beautifully this campaign, with both sides still eyeing back-to-back promotions.

Manager Kevin Hake, who is also the club’s Chairman, has overseen great success thus far, but on the road it’s a rocky record with five wins and six defeats from their 14 matches.

Dan Bradshaw leads the goalscoring charts this season with 10 league goals to his name, though only two have arrived this year. Jack Evans and Emmanuel Oloyede, meanwhile, are both hot on his heels with nine apiece.

Previous encounters

There isn’t a great deal of history between the two sides, but our Chairman, Andy Schofield, has managed to source a newspaper page from 1994 that told the local readers of a 1-0 FA Vase win – Michael Thomas the lone scorer as the Hawks booked their place into the third round of the competition. Nostalgia, eh!

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