Isthmian League

Report | Haringey Borough 1-1 Whitehawk

There are few things in life that are certain, and Charlie Lambert whacking the ball as hard as humanly possible into an opposing defender and it spiralling into the net is certainly one of those.

We must stress, this is all very amusing. The king of the ‘hit and hope’, half of his goals this season have either caressed or clattered against a man wearing a coloured shirt different to his own, but, in truth, it really doesn’t matter.

A player who leads the Hawks’ goalscoring charts, he might not start every game, might not even reach the hour mark, but when he drives at defences and slams the ball hard and low towards goal, there’s always a chance it’s going to zoom into the back of the net.

Today, on February 10, 2024, Whitehawk were not at their best. There were pockets of time that displayed attacking purpose and executed the game plan. For what it is worth, Haringey Borough were not a bad side at all. Hark back to that chilly October evening at The Enclosed Ground, where it took two late goals to complete a cherished comeback. Haringey have not picked up many points since then, but on this showing you’d have been a little surprised.

For 83 minutes they pushed, squeezed and strangulated a Whitehawk side that were up against it for significant periods of time. There were the times where you thought those stripped in an unfamiliar concoction of white, red and blue might actually force the ball home: Rob O’Toole seeing a shot saved from inside the box before Charlie Harris hissed one marginally wide of the post minutes before the break.

There will be a time where these efforts do go in, where Whitehawk move into the half with a two goal advantage. But what was seen again was a beginning to a second period that had the Hawks struggling to escape the nest, picking the ball out of their own net.

Shaun Saunders’ side were already fortunate not to have conceded in that first half. Mitch Walker had to be at his best to block a bombardment of balls travelling hastily towards his own goal. This was the fourth straight league game for the Hawks that ended 0-0 at the end of the opening 45 minutes, and the importance of an early goal in any game, any sport, can never be underestimated.

Recent showings straight after the break have proved costly in recent months, and it was the similar tale here as the faint rains forced their way onto the soft artificial surface. A cross from the right was zipped in with pace, power and precision to find the idle J’Ardell Stirling, who simply let the ball crash against his frame as it zinged into the net.

Ah, here we are again. A deficit against a side carrying the division’s third-worst defensive record. Again, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that, though there was still hope. The impact of Joel Daly, Imran Kayani and Lambert was exquisite. Tommy Brewer, who had dominated the midfield, made way just after the restart with a slight injury. He hobbled off, the Hawks conceded, and soon enough Saunders opted to switch to a 4-3-3.

Here, the width was in abundance. Stretching and drowning a now huffing Haringey backline, there were a few moments that raised the heart rate but nothing major until Lambert stepped up with 7 minutes of the afternoon remaining.

With options around him a player like this only has sights for the goal. It’s struck firmly, of course, looping over goalkeeper Dillon Barnes on its way, dissecting the posts, and in. Celebrations are muted. Whitehawk want a second.

Within minutes Lambert has the ball again – ‘deflection territory’ – and chooses the same meal again. This time the fortune is out, as it collides with a yellow-clad figure but to safety this time. Joe Tennent rises highest form the ensuing corner, reaching heights even he thought were implausible, but sending it inches over the crossbar.

The substitutions had paid off. Haringey Borough would have the final few forays forward as a golden sky erupted in the vista. A thing of absolutely beauty, three points would have matched the divinity in the corner of the travelling Hawks’ sight but a point from a losing position can never be taken for granted.

A performance that displayed a whole lot of resilience, whilst welcoming back Daly onto the pitch. Well, there’s certainly positives to be spoken of here as we trickle back down to Brighton, heavy are the legs but promise breathes in the mind. Another one ticked off, Tuesday brings renewed excitement, further possibility, and another chance to extend this unbeaten run.

Leave a Reply