PREVIEW: HERNE BAY (H)
Tuesday evening welcomes the third and final successive instalment of Whitehawk vs north Kent as Herne Bay journey through the Autumnal darkness. Ticking off Ramsgate and Whitstable on back-to-back Saturday’s sets the sights on the settlement squished in between the two.
Defeats from both, it has stalled momentum a fraction as Ross Standen hopes to capitalise on the opposition’s lack of away travels – having played their previous six fixtures in all competitions on home soil. Rearranged twice already due to Whitehawk cup commitments, Ben Smith’s in-form side finally head for the chilly Sussex coastline with a high degree of thrust in their sails.
Last time out
Hmmm, ‘frustration’ is the word that best describes Saturday’s loss to Whitstable Town. Sure, there’s probably a few more stronger adjectives to define that blustery afternoon but, in truth, the Hawks were deeply unlucky to taste defeat.
Storm Arwen’s violent force made life for the players (and spectators) increasingly difficult as the minutes passed. An early, wasteful onslaught catered for a sedater second half. The wind in the favour of the ground’s slope, attacking the Din was a smoother task – Kemo Darboe knowing this all to well as he swept the ball under Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke fifteen minutes from the conclusion.
It was to be their only shot on-target, but this was testament to a tenacious defensive display. Clinical when required, the Oystermen departed Whitehawk with just their third league victory of the season.
But what of our freshest visitors, Herne Bay? Positioned sturdily in 5th position, it has been quite the positive beginning for ‘The Bay’, who hope to record their ninth league win of the season. Eight points off pole position with two games in hand on all the sides that lurk above them, their is a justified sense of optimism ringing around this Kentish seaside town’s home of Winch’s Field.
A modernised pier with a distant glimpse of the Reculver Tower remains, the club’s faithful have witnessed twenty-two goals in their favour, but it’s the nine conceded that shines a little bit brighter. Defensively robust, with the joint-fewest goals against and offensively threatening through Zak Ansah – his nine league goals place the forward as the league’s third top-scorer.
Although unbeaten in their previous four — with a 6-0 thumping of East Grinstead Town in the opening round of the Velocity Trophy included — they arrive having fought out scoreless draw with Burgess Hill Town.
In recent years the two clubs have met each other on two occasions. In last year’s desperately short ‘season’ the Hawks marched to Kent and led for the first 82 minutes through an earlier Henry Muggeridge strike. But three goals in the final ten minutes after Adam El-Abd’s red card condemned Whitehawk to a bizarre, ‘one to forget’ defeat.
The encounter prior the campaign before was far more in favour of the Hawks. Duane Ofori-Acheampong slammed home three in between strikes from Connor Tighe and Rob Deda as they cruised to a 5-1 victory, with Luke Emberson the only familiar name from that starting XI. Not forgetting Lewis Unwin, who cozied himself up on the bench and played the final few minutes.
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