Isthmian League

Preview: Sittingbourne (A)

Careering through the county border once more is Whitehawk with the medieval Kentish settlement of Sittingbourne at the end of the glittering Isthmian rainbow. Wafting away the germs en route for no cheese or wine, rather the christmassy splendour of football that twinkles through the eyes.

Last time out

It was a performance worthy of much prominence and applause. Table-toppers Cray Valley Paper Mills strode to the coast in search of a twelfth league triumph but they were to instead increase the number of draws by one, forced to settle for an entertaining point.

A contest of two contrasting halves: the first was controlled by the Hawks, Henry Muggeridge’s early volley encapsulating such dominance; the second was claimed by The Millers, Hassan Ibrahiym rifling the ball high into the net’s roof soon after the resumption to emphatically level the scores.

Milder was the air that circled above, it brought a faint fizz of rain that resulted in heightened excitement. Two teams seemingly full of confidence, a point a piece justly tucked into the pockets of both sides.

The opposition

Situated cosily along the A2 and Chatham Main Line is the growing town of Sittingbourne. Offering those without  the luxury of a car the chance to visit the neighbouring Isle of Sheppey, it’s the football team that we’re really interested in.

And how well they’ve done. Placed in seventh position six points adrift of both the play offs and indeed Whitehawk, it’s been a promising start for Darren Blackburn’s squadron. Boasting a formidable home record of just a single loss (albeit in a 6-0 drubbing to Cray Valley), they enter unbeaten in their previous three league fixtures.

Johan Caney-Bryan’s six league goals place him atop of their goalscoring charts, one above the familiar faces of Ahmed Abdulla and Duane Ofori-Acheampong who both have five to their throwback names. Goals evenly shared, Kane Rowland is a threat, too, for the Hawks’ defence with his four goals.

Previous meeting

Ah yes, we’ve met before. Recently too, as a lone Ronnie Conlon strike shortly after the restart slipped Whitehawk into the lead and onto the win column on the second afternoon of the season. It was Ross Standen’s first league win as Hawks manager, one that will undoubtedly flicker in his mind as he and the rest of his team travel to Kent for tomorrow’s festive clash. Santa hats and beards very much recommended.

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