Whitehawk return for one last flurry under the bright bulbs of The Enclosed Ground’s floodlights on Tuesday evening by welcoming James Collins’ Faversham Town. Deprived of an away victory in the league since November 20, it’s been not the cheeriest of times away from home comforts for Collins’ outfit.
As the country covered themselves from Storm Eunice’s whipping winds and relentless rains our fixture with Faversham was understandably postponed until further notice. Well here we are. Still feeling the fatigue from the Non-League Day hangover, the Hawks re-host The Lilywhites as they quest to consign Saturday’s defeat into oblivion.
Last time out
In the blissful Spring heat the Hawks’ unbeaten run reached its terminus as Sevenoaks slipped away narrow victors in a sterile game on the field, but a wild afternoon in the stands. And that’s how Non-League Day should be: 613 faces watching on as they cheered, shouted, sung for Whitehawk. It just wasn’t to be.
And it was not to be Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke’s afternoon, too, having successfully saved Yahaya Bamba’s low-driven spot-kick, only for the ball to fall straight back to the fortunate forward. The contest’s lone strike, Whitehawk huffed in the heatwave but were powerless in their attempt to rescue a point.
Conquest for The Oaks injects a few flapping butterflies as they climbed away from the relegation play-off spot, and moving just one point behind Whitehawk in the process. Still, there’s always a chance to ease the tension soon after…
So what of these weary Kentish visitors travelling great lengths on such an evening in late March? Perched in 13th position back-to-back home wins over Herne Bay and Three Bridges respectively have eased all fears of a potential drop from the league.
Bolstered by the 8th best home record in the division, it combines with the second-worst away record that results in a lower mid-table spot. Just two scalps on the road, they will look to feed their league top-scorer Harry Harding whose six goals on the season are bettered only by the ten Emmanuel Oluwasemo has struck, though six of those have arrived in cup competitions.
Excluding their previous short-lived voyage last month, it was back in late October of 2021 that these two sides last met: a dreary, dull affair that was narrowly claimed by Faversham. An afternoon where things did not click and shots were not struck, with the exception of Joe Denny’s first half strike finding the roof of the netting.
A near year prior to this October clash was the last encounter between the clubs on the shores of Sussex. Played on The Enclosed Ground’s turf in a season wiped from memory, and indeed record, it was Harding who gave his side a 59th minute lead that was instantly cancelled out by an intuitive Marvin Hamilton back-heel in front of 400 pairs of football-desperate eyes. And so the spoils were shared.