Isthmian League

Preview: Hythe Town (A)

So…..that happened.

For a brief moment in the ever-expanding historical timeline, the eyes of millions were gazed upon our cosy club. Recognition is indispensable, but it must be remembered that the reasoning behind all this acclaim was for reasons that were not overly fantastic. Amusing may it be, this intense spotlight stemmed from heedless, outlandish decisions on the field that spawned five red cards, but more importantly another Whitehawk defeat. And through all of this, let’s just be thankful that Mohammed Kamara still has a lower-half of his body.

But moving on, as things always do, to the land of Hythe a way away down the coast. To Kent they stride wounded from past events, searching for little else but a win to steer them in a positive, clear direction. The winds are behind them, the forecast looks woeful but no matter the precipitation levels, those who so often travel in their numbers will be behind Ross Standen’s side every yard of the way.

Last time out

Rarely does one see ESPN and Gary Lineker commenting on little old Whitehawk. Something intriguing must have occurred at the base of the slope for such an event and, well, we suppose it did. Dumbfounded by the ’football’, anyone who stood outside the exit and saw the faces of those who left the Enclosed Ground on Monday afternoon would have assumed we had hosted our own comedy show.

Indeed not the worst idea; the match ended in a slim 1-0 defeat for Whitehawk. But zoom in to see five red cards, rattled crossbars and missed open goals. Cliché may it be for a game ‘to have it all’ but, truthfully, the definition rings scarily accurate. Not that you need reminding…we’re sure you managed to catch the highlights, along with the other few million viewers.

Noel Leighton capitalised on a Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke error to lift his Three Bridges side into a first half lead. It was to be the only goal in a hectic affair as Jamie Splatt saw red alongside Joe Stone and Leighton in a brief fracas, before Alex Malins was dismissed for tackling Dan Perry to turf. The final red was shown to Bryan Villavicencio, whose outrageously high challenge on Kamara thankfully did not result in any further injury. Fun stuff!

The opposition

It’s a long journey for the Hawks who travel to a Hythe Town side similarly out of form. Not since the dying days of November have James Rogers’ ‘Cannons’ won in the league: a winless run of seven matches. Heavy home defeats by VCD Athletic and Burgess Hill Town encapsulated their disappointing home form, where they have been victorious on home soil on just the single occasion all season long.

Whilst Whitehawk and Three Bridges were engaged in their own brutal TV show, Hythe Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Sevenoaks Town despite taking a second half lead through Jordan Sarfo. But a second half collapse gave them their eleventh loss of the season, meaning that both the Hawks and Hythe enter with exactly the same win, draw, loss record…interestingly.

Defending has been an issue for Hythe but so too has placing the ball in the back of the net. Their goal difference of -24 ranks lowest in the league despite their position of 15th, but Sarfo leads the team as chief scorer with six, five of which have arrived in his previous eight Isthmian matches.

Previous meetings

Almost two years to the day did Jude Macdonald’s Whitehawk both host and defeat Hythe 3-0 in the last meeting between the two sides. Connor Tighe’s strike minutes into the contest set the tone, as Ahmed Abdulla and Rhyle Ovenden added with goals in the following half.

The return fixture earlier in the campaign was a more exciting and oddly similar exhibit to our previous defeat on Monday as the nine-men Hawks overcame their opponents by a 1-0 scoreline. Duane Ofori-Acheampong scored the only goal before being controversially dismissed, and James Broadbent followed suit by having a slightly premature shower as he saw a flash of red in the dying minutes.

Who ever claimed there to be a dull moment at Whitehawk…

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