Whitstable Town 3 Whitehawk 0
The Hawks travelled to the north Kent coast with hopes high, having won at the Belmont on their previous three visits, but this was an afternoon very much to forget for those unfortunate enough to witness it. Against a side sitting at the foot of the table, with only four goals to their name in the previous ten games, the Hawks contrived to concede three by half time – and Harry Goodger also hit the bar with a volley when left unmarked at a corner early on.
After a lethargic opening in which the initiative was handed on a plate to the home side, Jack Hanson opened the scoring after 12 minutes as the Hawks defence parted obligingly, with Charlie Heatley then blasting in a penalty six minutes later after James Fraser was adjudged to have tripped player-manager Andy Dury.
Although the Oystermen didn’t score again until five minutes before half-time, the Hawks were never seriously in the game. The killer third goal was a sensational free-kick from 25 yards out via the right boot of Danny Walder. Those Hawks fans who had battled through the traffic to North Kent expressed their feelings of dissatisfaction as the half ended. “We’ll give you £100 to end it now,” was one comment to the referee from a Hawks’ fan as the officials left the pitch. “The Isthmian League is upside down”, was the Whitstable reply.
After the Oystermen missed a couple of presentable chances early on in the second half, the Hawks did come more into the game, strung a few passes together and eventually managed a shot on target through Jamie Splatt on the hour. By then many Hawks fans had taken advantage of the town’s attractions and departed. Jamie and Javaun Splatt then had shots blocked, while Ollie Munt and Lekan Orimolusi both spurned chances for an unlikely comeback.
In truth the Oystermen well deserved the three points, which gives them renewed hope in their bid to avoid the drop. The Hawks had again missed a chance to pull clear of the teams near the bottom and are left looking anxiously over their shoulder before next week’s crunch game against Hythe Town.
Your correspondent’s only highlight of the afternoon to report was the extensive array of sea food, generously provided in the committee room at half time by the home club’s ambassador Dave Weatherhead. Not an oyster in sight, but whelks, prawns and cockles aplenty.
Isaac Gleave is in Sunderland.