Isthmian League

Preview | Tilbury (A)

Well, this is different. A trip to Essex? That is a novelty. Not since April 13, 2019 have the Hawks slipped below the Thames and crossed into the county. The score that day? A 2-1 triumph over AFC Hornchurch. Oh yes, the omens are good as Shaun Saunders’ squad prepare for the beginning of a new route to the Wembley Arch as the coveted FA Trophy commences in Tilbury on Tuesday evening.

It’s been some time since Whitehawk’s effortless 3-0 victory over Three Bridges on August’s Bank Holiday Monday, 15 days in fact, with this a month of prioritising the early stages of the various trophy competitions. Moved from Saturday as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II, it’s a fair old midweek jaunt to the port town of Tilbury as the eventual victor books a trip to the winner of Tooting & Mitcham vs Corinthian, with the next round scheduled for Saturday, September 24.

Last time out

It was pretty good, if you can remember. The demolition of Three Bridges began in the 11th minute, when a thunderous Will Miles header from a corner-kick handed the Hawks a deserved early lead. Five minutes later and the story was written: Joe Shelley stroking his spot-kick into the net after Tad Bromage haplessly handled in the box.

It was rampant, ugly. A joy to watch from a Whitehawk perspective, the comfortable win was sealed on the stroke of half time as Joel Daly opened his account for the season with a sublime long-range effort that soared into the top-corner from 30 yards. A thoroughly satisfied crowd of 422, The Bridges’ hope faded as the sun sunk on a warm Bank Holiday Monday that crowned the Hawks 3-0 victors – the first time since March 7, 2020, that they had scored three goals on home soil.

Memories of last season’s 1-0 defeat firmly diminished on The Enclosed Ground turf.

The hosts

Tilbury be their name, it’s revered for a few reasons despite its rather modest size. What isn’t so compact is its port – the UK’s main port for handling the importation of paper…bet you didn’t know that. It’s got a fort, a river ferry and, a little bit north of the town, Chadfields: home to their Isthmian League North football club.

That’s right: same tier, different league. And, well, it’s been strong beginning to the season for The Dockers who, after finishing in 14th position last year, currently sit unbeaten in 7th, two points adrift of the top. Two wins and two draws were met with a similarly early exit from the FA Cup after a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Waltham Abbey, as the attention turns to the FA’s other domestic competition.

Roman Campbell finished last season at the club’s top scorer in the league with 13, and the forward has been quick to get off the mark this time around whilst teammate Alex Clark has already found the net on three occasions in all competitions thus far.

Previous encounters

Dig deep through the archives to unearth an FA Vase Third Qualifying Round tie between Tilbury and Whitehawk in 2001 – the only time these two sides have met. On a day that saw England retain the Six Nations in Ireland, the Hawks suffered a 3-0 defeat with Ian Chapman — the third youngest player to feature for Brighton & Hove Albion — a participate as player-manager. 


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