Isthmian League

Preview | Herne Bay (A)

It’s all been rather quiet for Whitehawk in recent days. Those fizzing elements falling from above no friend to the Hawks or Faversham Town on Saturday afternoon as the pitch proved unplayable, that 1-1 draw at East Grinstead in our last time out feels like some time ago now.

And we return to action on a field far from our own. A distance from the sloped comforts of the Enclosed Ground, it’s to the rickety seaside town of Herne Bay. Herons, beach huts and an updated pier – all the makings then for a fine away day…well, it’s nicer in the sun. But anyway, we do hope you join us once more this weekend in this crucial, joint effort as the season intensifies.

Last time out

*Checks previous notes*…ah ha, that game up the road where another late goal shattered the red hearts of Whitehawk. A fine Javaun Splatt strike saw the Hawks thunder into a first half lead, before Andrew Briggs made amends for his woeful penalty with a wonderful driven strike from range to earn a point for his East Grinstead side.

As this was briefly mentioned in last Saturday’s preview, why not spice things up a touch and dive into The Bay’s previous encounter. It’s not often we discuss the Kent Senior Cup, but that’s what we’ll be doing. A Dan Johnson brace in the second half helped his side reach a penalty shootout with Welling…only for the opposition to claim a 5-4 spot-kick win.

That was on Tuesday, not too long ago at all. But on Saturday they journeyed to that peculiar ‘is this Kent? Is this London?’ region for a goalless stalemate with VCD Athletic. Thrilling stuff indeed, probably for the best that there were only 102 sets of onlooking eyes.

The opposition

You know the location, and the main attractions, but now it’s time to learn of their cosy little football club hidden away at the foot of a bustling railway line. It’s tense, nervy, critical times for Ben Smith’s group as they lie a single point shy of the playoff positions with the season nearing its climax.

In control of a positive place for large portions of the season, recent form has seen the north Kent coast outfit slip away a little with two wins from their previous seven league matches. Perhaps a midseason dip, cup commitments have seen them play on a plentiful number of Tuesday evenings. Yet their three home Isthmian League defeats have arrived via three of the top four sides.

And then there’s the formidable goalscorer: Zak Ansah’s thirteen rippled nets leads his Herne Bay contingent with some potent finishing, whilst Kieron Campbell’s six take the silver medal no one really wants. There’s certainly goals in this Herne Bay side.

Previous meetings

It was back in the final days of November that these two clubs last met, under the white lights of Whitehawk no less. Quality was in short supply until the 87th minute when ex-Hawk Billie Clark curled home with the upmost gorgeosity, but by that time the visitors had already gained a two-goal advantage. 2-1 it finished as revenge is at the forefront of Ross Standen’s brain.

The previous affair at Winch’s Field was a tad more dramatic: Adam El-Abd seeing an unorthodox red card with fifteen minutes remaining as the Hawks slipped from 1-0 up to 3-1 down within a matter of minutes. What will the future hold this time around, eh…

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