Isthmian League

Preview: Cray Valley PM (H)

Positioned proudly atop the festive table are tomorrow’s opponents, Cray Valley Paper Mills. Defeated once in the league all season — on the wrong end of a 5-3 thriller at East Grinstead Town — it’s been 88 days since such an occurrence.

But worry not of the opposition, for Whitehawk strode into December hungry for a Christmas feast, and for a change of momentum. Three points and three goals, Sevenoaks were rocked in their own living room as the Hawks put an end to their four game losing skid in the freezing temperatures.

Last time out

A mightily crucial (and deserved) three points were secured at The Bourne Stadium last Saturday as the Oaks were impotent against a band of ruthless Hawks. And it was the newcomer from Horsham, Alex Malins, who popped up unmarked at the back post to nod his side smoothly into the lead.

As darkness began to fall over the west of Kent the fluidity in the football increased from the travelling party as Peter Gregory crashed the ball into the netting following a glossy move involving Malins and a deft assist from Ollie Munt. Late into the afternoon and the Hawks had a third, Billie Clark latching onto a delicate through-ball before placing it under the legs of Matthew Blendell.

Back up to 12th the Hawks fly. A desired response after a mid-season demise, whichever team scores that initial goal has been an important factor for Whitehawk this campaign, especially when it arrives as early as it did last weekend.

The opposition

Ooooh, it’s strain your neck time. Eleven victories, four draws and one defeat, it’s been quite the formidable beginnings for The Millers thus far. Hailing from the south-easterly part of the capital, they storm into Brighton unbeaten in their previous eleven league meetings, scoring twenty-five times in the process.

But their 38 goals in total (27 of which have been scored away) places them at the peak of the scoring records too at an average of little under 2.4 per game. Dished graciously across the field, Marcel Barrington’s eleven goals scored place him second in the charts behind Ramsgate’s Joshua Ajayi, whilst Denzel Gayle has six.

Defensively robust, they were triumphant in their previous fixture with Herne Bay, riding a late storm to overcome their promotion rivals 2-1. Interestingly, their last five matches in the league have been against the current sides positioned between 2nd and 6th, departing with eleven points out of a possible fifteen.

Previous meeting

And for the first time this season we don’t have to cast our minds back into lockdown football. August 14th, when the sun was shining and the days were longer, ’twas the opening game of this season at The Artic Stadium.

Ade Adeyemo squeezed the ball home from a desperately acute angle midway through the first half before James Fraser tapped into a gaping net from a matter of yards minutes after the restart to rescue an early point for his Whitehawk side.

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