Three chancellors, three home secretaries, two prime ministers and two monarchs – it’s fair to say that this country has been in complete turmoil since Whitehawk last played at home on a Saturday afternoon. Indeed, August 13 feels like a while ago – 70 days to be precise – yet through it all the Hawks remain unbeaten in the league…and that’s all that really matters around here.
So yes, back to the league. In a season ruptured by cup competitions, questionable scheduling and a spate of draws, the Hawks emerge into the Autumnal freshness the only side yet to taste defeat in the division as East Grinstead Town journey down to their local coastline for a spot of Saturday football.
Last time out
With a Hawks-less Saturday and a clear midweek, Shaun Saunders’ side have enjoyed a hefty spell of rest since last Tuesday’s home stalemate with Burgess Hill Town.
Under the lights the supporters flocked in strong numbers on a chilly evening in East Brighton, but with a misfiring attack and a well-drilled opposition, the Hawks struggled in their search for a goal.
Alex Malins made his first start for Whitehawk after agreeing to re-join the club a day prior from Horsham, and the centre-half was at his usual best in the heart of the defence as he helped Luke Glover on his way to a sixth clean sheet of the campaign.
Hailing from near Gatwick, the charming town situated in the extreme northeast of the county is less known for its footballing heritage despite dating back to the year 1890. Buried in Ashplats Wood, The Wasps travel to Brighton in 8th, level on points with yours truly but having played two games more.
Recent former Hawks Lewis Unwin and Fintan Walsh return to The Enclosed Ground soil in the yellow and black stripes of East Grinstead Town who stumble into this one on the back of a 6-5 penalty shootout defeat to Leatherhead in the Velocity Cup.
Matt Daniel, who joined from Lancing in the Summer, has already scored nine goals this campaign as he leads the scoring charts for The Wasps whilst Tahjae Anderson has five. Promising numbers in front of goal for a side who, similar to the Hawks, were languishing at the foot of the table last season as manager Drew Cooney eyes to consolidate his side in the top half of the table.
In last season’s meetings it was the Javaun Splatt show. As it so often was, of course, but with a slice of individual genius in both games, the Hawks can thank their dual-signed forward for handing them a 1-0 home win, and a battling 1-1 draw at East Court with goals in either game.
What’s interesting (to some of us, at least…) is that these scorelines were matched in the 19/20 campaign, the last times these two clubs faced prior to the aforementioned as a result of the pandemic. Then it was Lucas Rodrigues on hand to take a point away from home, before the penultimate game of the season witnessed a lone Ahmed Abdulla strike that claimed all three points at The Enclosed Ground.