Back on the road to surroundings familiar as the Hawks journey once more to Corinthian’s Gay Dawn Farm after dismantling The Hoops 4-2 in the FA Trophy back in September. But things have changed quite a bit in the 63 days that have passed since our last meeting: Shaun Saunders’ side have found the net on 25 occasions as the attack continues to sizzle. And with Will Miles pushing for a return, the league’s best defence could see that important face once more.
But last Saturday there was a slight reality check: Beckenham Town racing to a 2-0 win as Whitehawk were confined to a first defeat in 90 minutes all season. It was inevitable, as most things in sport are, yet perhaps it was avoidable had the Hawks shown a slightly more clinical edge in front of goal. Not to bother, the top three all lost! Which makes this a very important afternoon indeed…
Last time out
It was on Tuesday, if you didn’t know. Surging into the Velocity Cup Quarter Finals to the tune of a 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Hastings United brought further smiles at The Enclosed Ground, a place that can finally be labelled a fortress.
In a scrappy cluster of bodies chances were still carved consistently and Rob O’Toole opened the scoring with a delightful flick through Louis Rogers’ legs, but the East Sussex cohort soon brought matters level after Hamish Morrison brought down a white-shirt in the box.
James Hull placing it beautifully in the corner just before the break, the second half would go the way of the Hawks as The Din End grew with each fleeting minute. Joe Shelley continued his prolific nature with a superb header for his eleventh (!) of the campaign, before Morrison redeemed himself by bagging his first goal for the club moments from the end with another neat finish from a Kai Brown cross. Victory assured, only eight teams remain as the quest for silverware intensifies.
Since that September afternoon that fell in favour of Whitehawk, Corinthian have mustered a mere seven points in the league as they languish in 19th position, one point and one place above basement club Faversham Town. It’s been a testing season for the side stuck somewhere in the Kent countryside who are finding things difficult after a meritable first ever stint in the Isthmian Leagues last season.
But maybe, just maybe, they’re starting to turn the corner. Victory at home to VCD Athletic in early November — just their second league win of the season to date — was followed with a promising point after securing a 1-1 draw with East Grinstead Town. Impressive on Tuesday night, too, as a strong Maidstone United side visited ‘The Farm’ for some Kent Senior Cup action, only to lose 2-1
After a solid start in front of goal that goal scoring prowess has fallen away a touch. Finding the net 11 times in their last 16 matches in all competitions hardly sets the world alight, and they have scored just nine goals all league season, the lowest in the division by six goals. Yet still they have some talent in that team: Oscar Housego is nifty and nimble in the 10 position, binding the play and acting as the chief playmaker in a side devoid of much attacking threat.
Gay Dawn Farm has been a pleasant place to visit if you’re a Whitehawk supporter: two games, two wins, eight goals. An effortless 4-0 in last season’s journey may just have been the highlight of the season, and that attacking flame continued earlier in the season with the aforementioned fixture; Joel Daly, Kai Brown, Will Miles and Shelley all getting on the scoresheet.
Last year’s reverse fixture told a different tale, as many did at The Enclosed Ground last season. In an entertaining 2-2 draw it was Alex Malins and Alex Laing on target for the hosts, yet the persistent visitors continued to swing the pendulum as both sides left with a point. Everyone’s happy!