And so we made it, for now. Through the winds, whirling rain and woeful cold, Whitehawk’s colossal league clash with Littlehampton Town is a go. Let’s pray to the sporting Gods above that there is to be no further showers falling from the sky.
Keeping the momentum going is all Shaun Saunders will have wanted. The Hawks have started this year in beautiful, brilliant fashion with three wins from three. But in Littlehampton they find a fighting beast; a volatile, spirited bunch that will stop at nothing to secure three points.
Alfie Rogers is in line to make his home debut after scoring the winner on Tuesday night against Margate, whilst new midfield addition Tommy Brewer should be involved this afternoon with Joe Shelley still suffering from his injury.
Last time out
It was one of the great comebacks. 2-0 down after 20 minutes, against opposition from the league above, and for a place in the Semi-Final of the Velocity Cup. Oh, yes – those that looked down on the Hawks on Tuesday evening were certainly with them till the very end as Saunders’ side ran out 4-3 winners on a dramatic, delightful night.
Ben Greenhalgh whipped in two wind-assisted goal to leave Whitehawk staring at a Quarter-Final exit in Kent early doors, but the resurrection arrived through a Nathan Cooper / defensive leg that steered the ball in to halve the deficit before the break.
Charlie Lambert levelled 10 minutes before time ahead of a Luke Robinson sliding finish that completed the comeback moments before additional time, only for Harry Shooman to slip the ball into his own net. With penalties looking likely debutant Rogers took it upon himself to fire the Hawks into raptures, booking a place in the next round.
Remember the name? Of course you do – how could we forget! Sat in 8th and positioned wayyyy down the coast, Littlehampton Town arrive into this one full of vigour and verve after their 5-1 mauling of Corinthian on Tuesday night.
For George Gaskin and Mitchell Hand’s side they will be delighted with the progress their side have made after gaining promotion to the Isthmian Leagues for the first time in their history. Reaching the FA Vase Final, too, saw them head to Wembley last year, only to be defeated comfortably by Newport Pagnell.
But with one eye on the playoffs, six points shy of the Hawks, victory today for ‘The Marigolds’ would be rather large indeed in their fight for back-to-back promotions. And on the scoring front, well, goals have been evenly split.
Joe Benn, who scored 50 goals for the club last season, is out injured, and so Devon Parker has had to step up in his absence, and he has four in the league thus far.
We all know about what happened earlier in the season, but the FA Cup fixture last season was one of drama, too, as the Hawks departed The Sportsfield 5-4 winners on a beautifully sunny afternoon in Sussex. Henry Muggeridge scored twice with James Fraser, Callum Edwards and Omarr Lawson also finding the target as Ross Standen’s side advanced to the next round.
And in more recent times was the reverse fixture: a 1-0 win separated by a Charlie Harris free-kick, yet marred for a spate of abusive chants directed at Whitehawk’s supporters. Today has been marked in the calendar for quite some time, and we think everyone is just hoping for a peaceful, calm afternoon at The Enclosed Ground.
Will Miles pre-game quotes
“It’s going to be a hostile game. They’re [Littlehampton] a good team, they’ve adapted to life in the league above pretty well, and they’ve clearly got good togetherness. But they’ve got that side to them, that fight, that we’ve got to be ready for. If we make it a football game I’m confident we win the game.”
“If we want to go to battle with them then it becomes an even playing field. We’ve started the year very well and we want to keep that run going, and have a good run in toward the end of the season.”