Shaun Saunders takes charge of Whitehawk for the first time on the road as his side travel to Three Bridges’ Jubilee Field for a spot of Good Friday football. Defeated 2-0 by Hythe Town at The Enclosed Ground last Saturday, Saunders will be hoping for redemption against a side in desperately poor form.
Sitting in 17th a mere two points above Lancing — current occupiers of the relegation play-off position — the points would be crucial for a Hawks team who have yet to forget that previous, spicy encounter with The Bridges in early January. A lone goal combined with five red cards to make it an memorable, yet undeniably infamous, afternoon.
Last time out
As the Whitehawk crowd returned in strong numbers to witness Saunders’ maiden game at the helm, his side would fail to harness the electricity produced in the stands as they succumbed to a disappointing defeat to relegation rivals Hythe.
An even bout for large portions of the affair, it was the indecisive Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke who gifted The Cannons their opener, failing to clear the ball from his own six-yard box as Tom Walmsley stormed in to break the deadlock.
And as the hosts pushed for the equaliser with the second half drifting to a close it was the right-boot of Jacob Gilbert that condemned Saunders to defeat. Slicing through a tiring Hawks defence Gilbert drilled an effort beneath Stroomberg-Clarke’s gloves, likely preserving Hythe’s league status in the process.
Whitehawk journey to Three Bridges with Friday’s opposition in the midst of their worst form of the season. Four consecutive defeats and without a victory in five, it’s arrived at arguably a good time as the club can breathe without the danger of being sucked into a relegation battle, and the Hawks will hope to capitalise on this prolonged run.
Over the previous six fixtures The Bridges have the second-worst form in the league. Additionally, they have not kept a clean sheet since that fateful January afternoon on the soils of The Enclosed Ground. Dan Perry leads his side’s goalscoring chart with an impressive 18 strikes, making him the league’s joint-third top scorer.
Well, this is a fun one. The previously discussed Battle of Whitehawk saw the referee brandish a bizarre five red cards as the contest brought about a hefty amount of media attention. Three Bridges escaping with all three points, their only goal came courtesy of Noel Leighton who rolled the ball into an empty net.
But then the carnage ensued: Alex Malins and Jamie Splatt receiving second half reds alongside the visiting Joe Stone, Bryan Villavicencio and Leighton to baffle the brains of those departing supporters.
Our previous visit to Jubilee Field ended in an equally wacky 5-3 triumph as a remarkable Lucas Rodrigues hat-trick completed an unlikely comeback for Jude Macdonald’s Whitehawk. And in the reverse fixture moments before the country entered its first lockdown it was the Hawks who remained in control again following a fantastic 8-1 win.