So yesterday I went to my third non-league game this season to see Whitehawk take on Hampton and Richmond Borough. In terms of atmosphere, Whitehawk is a class above Hastings United and Eastbourne Borough.
I went to this game with two mates as part of a wider project. We plan to have a video/short documentary out about the Hawks which will include interviews with fans, match action, footage from the game and so on.
I also conducted an interview with Sergio Torres, the Whitehawk captain, the day after the game. This will be included in the video and an article on my university website. Links will be at the bottom of the page when everything comes out.
Anyway, the game. Whitehawk have struggled so far this season in the Vanarama South, lying just two points off relegation before things kicked-off. Hampton and Richmond Borough on the other hand came into the match 7th in the table, eight points off the play-off places.
We got to the game very early to shoot some footage. In fact, we were there before some of the players! Whitehawk play at the Enclosed ground in a suburb of Brighton. It’s probably one of the nicest grounds I’ve been to.
It wasn’t long after the game kicked off before the Whitehawk Ultras started singing, banging drums. Even a man with a kazoo got involved! “Whitehawk! Super Whitehawk!” My man Sergio Torres went close early on with a long-range effort.
The first half as a whole was a cagey affair. The Hawks’ 3-5-2 couldn’t break down a resolute Hampton and Richmond defence. Funnily enough my mate went to school with the Whitehawk wing-back, Christian Scales, and played in the same team as him. Unfortunately for Scales, he was closed down instantly every time he got the ball and was taken off at half time in a tactical change.
It was the away side who went into half time with the lead. Michael Kamara headed in a Hampton corner on 44 minutes. Two minutes later, the same man completed his brace, again from a corner after some awful Hawks defending.
At half-time, the Whitehawk barmy army moved to the opposite stand. They even hung up a disco ball on the roof which I found a bit crazy. Nevertheless, it seems anything goes at Whitehawk. “We’re Whitehawk FC, where footballs’ for all!”.
Hampton and Richmond Borough got their third goal through Michael Kamara. The big number nine headed in to further shorten the odds of Whitehawk coming back.
However, that third goal was the catalyst for Whitehawk to push forward a bit more. It wasn’t pretty, but the home side did manage to construct some chances.
The pitch at the Enclosed ground is sloped and the fact the Hawks were playing downhill was a reason for their second half impetus. John Passley, a former Fulham academy prospect, was particularly dangerous at right-back during this attacking spell.
Rather than go down the middle, Whitehawk looked to get crosses into 6ft 4 top scorer Danny Mills. It did eventually work when he looped in a header from Frankie Sutherlands cross, but it proved to be too little, too late.
The journey getting to Whitehawk too smoothly so of course something had to go wrong. We left a suitcase of camera equipment on the stands, luckily someone from the ground picked up this suspicious looking piece of luggage and we got it back without any problems.
Watching Whitehawk play was a great experience and I’ll do it again. Hopefully the team can cut out some of their defensive lapses and scrape a few wins together to stay clear of relegation. As a fan shouted when we were leaving the game, “The Hawks shall rise again”.