Isthmian League

Report | Whitehawk 2-1 Potters Bar Town

Well, where do we begin? 55 matchdays later, and you find the Hawks in the drenching rain applauding a proud Sea End. 9th place secured, an incredible achievement in the first year back in Isthmian Premier, though this season hasn’t always gone to plan.

Play-off contention combined with a tinge of relegation fear, but as the temperatures rose and the wins secured safety, there has been a lovely freedom about the Hawks in these final few weeks of the season, even with a fixture list greater than most in English football.

But it’s not just about the end, for this has been a collective effort over a long, difficult, yet profitable season that has seen further growth for this club: attendances on the up, the rise of Josh Nandhra, and stability in the division.

There haven’t been many times in recent years where with a month to go Whitehawk supporters can relax knowing that neither the fear of relegation nor the tension of play-off football is to occur. It’s been a return to this league that many would have hoped for at the start, with some truly memorable victories – chiefly on the road – that will live long in the memory.

Saturday’s victory over Potters Bar Town was the perfect send off. At home, in-form, only the weather dampened the spirits of a strong, expectant crowd. Nandhra has been exquisite since breaking into the first team, though another young maestro in the midfield has caught the eyes of many.

Both were on the scoresheet in the opening 17 minutes. Nandhra slotted home Charlie Harris’ pinpoint cross from the left, before Charlie Lambert delivered a similar pass from the right that Kai Jennings volleyed home beautifully.

It was clinical, and it was devastating. ‘The Scholars’ arrived with form akin to one fighting relegation, and though they were similarly playing without real intention, they simply could not cope with the shapes and angles Whitehawk were carving.

It’s a beautiful sight, a packed Din End, and it’s even more beautiful when the netting is rumbling. Finding the net hasn’t been much of an issue for the Hawks, who conclude the campaign on 63 goals. It’s good, but it’s been at the back where Whitehawk have truly excelled, and Saturday encapsulated that perfectly.

Joe Tennent was the star of the show, but alongside Luca Cocoracchio the two have been exemplary. It helps when you have the best ‘keeper in the division behind you in Mitch Walker, who didn’t miss a minute, though as a unit the defence has been rigid and resilient.

Whitehawk were in control of most of the afternoon, though as time ticked on the visitors did push further forward. They got their goal through a deflected Leigh Rose header which, at first, was disallowed for offside. A swift conversation between referee and linesman overturns the decision, halving the deficit in the process.

But Shaun Saunders’ side, who should be proud, dug deep to earn maximum points for a fifth home game on the spin. They even finished the campaign as the league’s most in-form side, as the optimism drifts into the Spring air in time for the months ahead.

Rather fitting, too, that we sign off this season exactly a year to the day of last season’s play-off final. Saturday might not have had the flares, the crowd-surfing or the promotion, but what it did have was a team united, a support proud, and an off-season full of optimism.

And as we sign off for another season, continue to spread the word of Whitehawk. For this is a club, a community, worthy of all the admiration and love it truly deserves.

Until next time. Up the Hawks.

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