Margate: where the shadows of a bustling past can still be felt when walking along its promenade. Known for rollercoasters, The Libertines and Tracey Emin; this quiet ghost town has one more surprise up its sleeve: a football ground not too far away from the station.
A 230-ish mile round-trip on a cold January Tuesday night? This is an evening of rather large proportion, and not just for the journey time. A place in the Velocity Cup semi-final at stake, there is a real chance for the Hawks to gain a step closer toward illustrious silverware…and it’s at the home of a side in the division above without a league win for almost two months.
Last time out
It’s been a rather lovely start to the calendar year: two games, two wins. Last Monday’s home meeting with Haywards Heath Town was strenuous, nervy; yet through it all a Luke Robinson rifler in the final minute put an end to a run of rather upsetting results.
And that spirit and mood stretched into Saturday as the journey home from Sittingbourne proved jovial following a comfortable 2-0 victory to a side languishing as of late. But in the opening half the Hawks were made to work: 0-0 the scoreline at the interval; it was the head of Will Miles that thundered Whitehawk into the lead.
With momentum strong with Shaun Saunders’ team the second arrived minutes later in comical fashion: Harley Earle and Gavin Hinds-Cadette lacking in the communication department as the former drills the ball against the latter with the ball dribbling over the line.
Back up to fourth with ground made on the league leaders, attention turns to the Hawks’ last shot at cup glory with a mighty jaunt to the far east of Kent.
Sat in 16th position in the league above, recent form has been a slight concern for the hosts as their winless run stretches into the month of November. Rescuing a point in their previous fixture: a 3-3 draw with Brightlingsea Regent, the Kent club will be looking to reignite positivity with progression into the last four of this competition.
Margate will be able to welcome back Sam Blackman into the midfield after he served a two game ban for his sending off against Cray Wanderers on Boxing Day. Doubts remain over Harry Hudson (ankle), and David Smith (calf), as per the host’s website.
Ben Greenhalgh leads the line with 10 goals in all competitions this season, making him the most prolific in front of goal. Cameron Brodie has chipped in with six whilst Hudson has four, with the team struggling of late in front of goal.
The two sides last met in 2018 when the Hawks claimed a 3-1 win at Hartsdown Park in December as a Jason Williams brace and Aaron Goode struck sealed all three points, with the return fixture earlier in the campaign ending 0-0.
The Blues will be hoping for a change of fortune tonight as they have only beaten the Hawks once at home in their history, that coming in February 2013 when they ran out 2-1 winners.