Old foes face off at The Enclosed Ground on this January Bank Holiday as Shaun Saunders faces his former side as a new-look Haywards Heath Town side venture down to Sussex’s windy coastline.
There’s more old faces returning, too, with a number of the current Whitehawk crop once donning the blue and white shirts of the mid-Sussex club. An afternoon long in the making, it’ll be the first game back at The Enclosed Ground’s hallowed soil for a month if it is to pass a precautionary pitch inspection on Monday morning.
Last time out
It’s been a bit of time for this Whitehawk side who last played on a Boxing Day to forget as the trip to Three Bridges ended in a customary fracas that saw Will Miles dismissed in a 3-2 scoreline favouring the hosts.
With postponements heavy the month of December featured a scarce amount of Hawks action with just three league games that all ended in defeat. And this one started like the one before it; Whitehawk staring at an early 2-0 deficit after goals from Curtis Gayler and Noel Leighton put ‘The Bridges’ in front.
But the Hawks riposte was a fine one: Charlie Lambert on hand to fizz home minutes before debutant Luke Robinson steered in the equaliser on 36 minutes. With all the momentum the half time whistle blew at just the wrong time as Kieron Pamment slammed in his side’s third to condemn Saunders’ side to another defeat.
A side much-changed since the away 0-0 on New Years Day; Hamish Morrison, Nathan Cooper and Jerson dos Santos are all in the red of Whitehawk as they prepare for the hosting of Heath. Luke Glover, Joel Daly, Ryan Warwick and Callum Saunders have also once worn the shirt of tomorrow’s opponents in a match that should provide extra impetus for Saunders’ squad.
Perched in 13th with one eye on the playoff positions, the new faces of Dale Hurley and Alex Walsh have reinvigorated ‘The Blues’ with back-to-back victories to open the era of the fresh managers who arrived in early December from Lancing.
It had been a difficult start to the season with Haywards Heath languishing near the foot of the table but, as Hurley and Walsh set their sights on transforming their new team, the positivity has once again blanketed Hanbury Park after an impressive last season.
Tom Collins leads the line and the goalscoring charts with eight league goals thus far, whilst Alex Laing returns to familiar settings after spending the backend of last campaign with the Hawks.
In a rather drab series of events both games last season finished 0-0 with the home contest all-but securing Isthmian League status for the Hawks in what was Saunders’ first point in charge of Whitehawk.
In the previous two meetings the scorelines were once again even with a 1-1 draw at The Enclosed Ground assured through Connor Tighe before the reverse fixture spawned a 2-2 that witnessed four second half goals: Warwick and Saunders on target for the hosts…Ahmed Abdulla and Henry Muggeridge finding the net for the Hawks. Small world…
And so onto Monday’s match, where both teams will be looking for three points to break this rather repetitive theme of drawing. 0-0, anyone?