By Patrick Isitt
In their final home game before the Sussex Sports Awards on Friday, Whitehawk FC comfortably saw off Whitstable Town in a 3-0 victory at The Enclosed Ground. The visitors had barely had a chance to settle into the game before Marvin Hamilton put the Hawks 1-0 up. A glancing header at the front post was enough to convert Dave Martin’s inswinging corner past Dan Eason in the Whitstable goal after four minutes.
Three minutes later it was Dave Martin the provider again. Some neat play in the Whitehawk midfield allowed the wide man enough space to put Connor Tighe through on goal, beating the offside trap and confidently slotting the ball past the on rushing Eason. It was a tough game for both teams on a pitch hampered by the East Sussex rainfall, but the Hawks managed to play some impressive football despite the conditions.
The emphatic start fizzled out as the game went on. Captain Henry Muggeridge with the only real chance as the half was drawing to a close. Five minutes before the break it was all but over for the visitors. Connor Tighe adding his second of the day as he leapt to nod home another Dave Martin assist from a couple of yards out. The winger reacted quickly to put the ball back into the six yard box after a superb save from Eason initially. It was almost four right on the whistle, after a nice exchange between Tighe and Muggeridge saw the latter denied only by a last ditch tackle.
There was little to write home about in the second half. The visitors looked more assured, and were kept out in the 55th minute by a tremendous James Broadbent save to maintain the Hawks three-goal cushion. Whitehawk continued to make progress down the channels, with Rhyle Ovenden unlucky not to find anyone after beating two defenders with some quick feet and pulling the ball back to the edge of the box.
The game fell quiet until the dying embers, when a goal line clearance from JP Kissock, after Broadbent had pushed a close range header onto the post, kept the Hawks clean sheet. A convincing win for Whitehawk sees them move into eighth in the table, before they face second from bottom Three Bridges on Tuesday night.
The Hawks are preparing for a big night at the end of the week, after receiving a nomination for the Sussex Sports Awards ‘Club of the Year’ category. Kevin Miller, Head of Commercial, said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised for our efforts. It shows that we’re on the right path and that what we’re doing has a positive impact on the community.”
The team behind the scenes have been busy over the last 12 months, including a Football United event for Pride last summer, a fundraising event for children affected by the Grenfell disaster and a host of Hawks in the Community projects that have solidified the bond between the fans, the Whitehawk community and the club. “Some of the fans that got to the game early on Saturday were welcoming the away fans coming in. You don’t get that in many places, but that’s the ethos we’ve got. We’re all in it together, we’re all non-league and we’re all having a bit of fun.
“We’re trying to get students down, because we want them to make it their club too. It’s difficult because you go to Brighton and it’s £30 or £40 for a ticket. It’s a lot of money, because you’re seeing world class stars play great football. It’s hard even at student prices, so we’re trying to provide an alternative. “The direction we’re going and the recognition we’re getting is a testament to what we’re doing at Whitehawk FC. I’m proud to be nominated for the awards, but to win one would put the club right on the map. Next year is our 75th anniversary, so to be Club of the Year in our 75th year would be astonishing.”
The award will be decided by a public vote, which is open right up until the deadline. To vote for Whitehawk at the SSA, click below: