Isthmian League

Preview | Chichester City (A)

Two in-form teams lock horns at Oaklands Park later this evening as Whitehawk venture west to Chichester City looking to extend that unbeaten league streak to seven matches.

Dented by the loss of Joel Daly and Charlie Lambert on Saturday, it would not matter in the end as the Hawks consolidated their playoff position with a 2-0 win over fellow promotion-hopefuls Sheppey United.

But in Chichester they find a side in full verve, arriving into tonight’s clash with identical form over the past six matches: won four, drawn two.

Shay Leahy earned a first home league start and impressed out wide, but new signing Leon Moore, who arrives from Haywards Heath Town, could make his debut in the full back position with numbers a tad thin on Saturday.

Last time out

Grey skies and attritional football; Whitehawk were not much better than their opponents in Sheppey United, but mustered the courage to complete a third straight league win.

All the ball and more of the chances in the opening half, Rob O’Toole’s deflected strike looped beneath the bar to hand the Hawks a 27th minute lead, which was comfortably seen out.

That is, until the second half, where ‘The Ites’ were a different beast: finding the space in the box, but shooting erratically over Sam Freeman’s crossbar on countless occasion.

Luke Robinson wrapped up the afternoon with a composed strike minutes from time for his seventh Whitehawk goal, placing further pressure on the few sides above with Beckenham Town and Chatham Town both dropping points.

The hosts

Chichester City: a side in recent times have had the better of yours truly, Shaun Saunders’ side will look to break the hoodoo as they face off for the first time this season.

In fact, this is the third time this fixture has been rearranged after angry elements made the Oaklands Park surface unplayable, with the reverse fixture taking place in just over a month’s time.

Perched in 9th just four points shy of the playoffs, it’s been a whirlwind past couple of months for ‘The Lillywhites’ who haven’t lost a league match since January 7.

Six wins and two draws in their previous eight league matches, they are the division’s form side alongside the Hawks and Hythe Town as the season starts to heat up.

Ethan Prichard leads the line and the goalscoring rankings for Chichester this season with nine strikes in the league, whilst Josh Clack and Lloyd Rowlatt both have seven to their name.

Previous encounters

Meeting three times last season, Chichester would claim both at Oaklands Park by a 6-1 scoreline that was soon followed by extra-time heart break in the Sussex Senior Cup.

Olly Munt, who now plays for tonight’s hosts, scored our lone goal in the reverse fixture, but a late Rowlatt strike earned a share of the spoils.

On what felt a little like the proverbial graveyard ground last year, the Hawks will be hoping to snap the curse later this evening in what could be a pivotal three points for Saunders’ team.


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