Lancing, Whitehawk – a derby yet to shine as bright as that of the Manchester, Merseyside, Old Firm rivalries (heaven knows why), but still carries an intensity on the plastic pitch akin to any on this island. The Hawks have waited long enough to resume their league campaign, and they shan’t have too many a mile to venture.
And so it was that 20 days deep into September the Hawks would be playing their first league match of the month. Set sights for Culver Road a mere 10 miles along the coastline, victory under the Tuesday night lights could see Shaun Saunders’s side up to 1st if results from elsewhere are to be generous.
Last time out
A week has passed since the Hawks’ hard-fought 2-1 victory at Tilbury’s Chadfields in the FA Trophy. It was wet, cold and murky but after a first half in which Whitehawk trudged off the pitch staring an early exit in the face, goals from Charlie Lambert and Joe Shelley swiftly after the restart turned things around with the greatest of aplomb.
The result extends Whitehawk’s unbeaten run to five matches in league and cup as they undergo a real positive period of form. Without defeat in the league this season, there is much optimism surrounding the camp despite the departure of last season’s top-scorer Javaun Splatt to Worthing.
Last Tuesday’s win seals a tie at divisional rivals Corinthian this coming Saturday after their dramatic penalty shootout win over Tooting & Mitcham United, but it’s a return to league action for the East Brighton club before they journey to deepest, darkest Kent at the weekend.
It’s been another slow start to the season for The Lancers who, after setting off with a rampant 4-0 win at home to county league outfit Roffey, have won just one of their opening five league matches.
They are perched precariously in 17th position, and were upended on Saturday at table-toppers Ramsgate despite missing a last minute penalty that would have earned them a valuable point against stern opposition.
Their lone win arrived via a slim 1-0 scoreline over Chichester in late August, but that result was sandwiched in between two 1-4 defeats at home to East Grinstead Town and Cray Valley PM. Dale Hurley and Alex Walsh’s side will look to get their campaign up and running on Tuesday evening, and might have to rely on the boot of Louis Veneti who has found the net on five occasions already this season.
It was a sterner test than expected last season as newly promoted Lancing stunned the Hawks on The Enclosed Ground turf with a smash and grab 2-1 win courtesy of strikes from Finn Daniels-Yeomans and Matt Daniel. James Fraser had opened the scoring for Whitehawk in the 23rd minute with an accurate header, but the visitors surged back to claim all three points.
And then there’s the return fixture. A slow, painful procession of January football that culminated with a last second Olly Munt penalty kick that rescued a point for his hapless Hawks after Lorenzo Lewis had handed the hosts a first half lead with an accurate finish.
You can read the thoughts of Saunders ahead of tonight’s trip to Culver Road by clicking here: https://whitehawkfc.com/saunders-we-have-to-work-hard/