Well here we are: 3,510 excruciating minutes, 39 games later – the Hawks’ winding, twisting, hypnotic road ends at The Enclosed Ground. But unlike the rest, this evening is for a place in the division above. It all trickles down to this.
It was a tense one on Tuesday for both sides. Hythe Town sneaking into the play-offs *literally* at the last second, sneaking past Ramsgate on penalties.
It was their seventh consecutive victory, making them the form side as they slide down the coast this evening.
Whitehawk welcomed Joel Daly back on Tuesday night, and he was electric in the midfield as Shaun Saunders has admitted he, with the exception of Harry Shooman and Joe Shelley, has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of this evening’s crucial fixture.
Last time out
Have you ever heard such a roar? Nathan Cooper’s header in the 58th minute sending the Hawks into a wild frenzy, unbridled joy flowing as we held onto that 1-0 win over Beckenham Town to book a place in the final.
A cagey opening, the Hawks came closest to breaking the deadlock through Shooman and Charlie Lambert, but Nick Blue supressed the danger.
But as the ends swapped and the Din End presented itself, the momentum swung heavy in favour of Saunders’ side, and soon the Hawks would be dancing.
And then Rob Carter was shown a straight red card for bringing Malachi Hudson down with only a few minutes to go. The whistle blew soon after, and their fate was secured.
Hythe Town, the form side. Finishing strong with seven straight victories, it’s been a fabulous conclusion for a Cannons’ team that at the time of Christmas Day, sat in 15th place.
It’s laudable stuff and, as the Hawks have already discovered, they are side built on resilience and grit. Just the one defeat at home all season, Reachfields has been an almost-impassable fortress, whilst the 10 defeats on their travels offers a contrast in form.
Johan Caney-Bryan was the team’s top scorer when we met at The Enclosed Ground earlier in the season, and he seems to have consolidated that title with 14 goals to his name in the league, whilst former Hawk Marvin Hamilton returns once again.
We’re talking recent past, yeah? Since Whitehawk dropped into this division, the two sides have met on six occasions.
Three wins for the Hawks gives the Sussex side the edge over Hythe’s two wins, with last season’s fixture at Reachfields ending 2-2.
Joe Shelley and Joel Daly on the stroke of both additional minutes secured the three points back in December in what was another vintage after at The Enclosed Ground.
And so the stage is set. Whitehawk host Hythe Town for place in the division above. This is what it all comes down to.
You can peruse the thoughts of Saunders ahead of tonight’s fixture by visiting this link: https://whitehawkfc.com/saunders-if-we-play-to-our-full-potential-then-im-confident-we-can-get-the-result/