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Hawkinge Town FC 1st Team 2 - 3 K Sports Res

Home | 24 March 2018
Hawkinge Town 2-3 K Sports Reserves
Kent County League Division One Central & East
Saturday 24th March 2018
Report by Grant Wilbur

Hawkinge entertained in form side K Sports Reserves in Kent County League Division One Central & East on Saturday in a must win game for the home side who were challenging for the league title.

Goals from Sam Potter and James Funnel gave the visitors a half time lead although Hawkinge pulled a goal back thanks to Ashley Easton. The second half saw Sports increase their lead when Potter added a third goal before Hawkinge reduced their arrears through Easton. Hawkinge huffed and puffed but it was the visitors who took the points virtually ending the home side’s title challenge.

Hawkinge were forced to field a very different looking side thanks to a stag do in Los Vegas. One would be forgiven for asking why players would organise such an event on a match day but this was originally a free Saturday for Hawkinge but the recent inclement weather forced games to be postponed resulting in the free Saturday staging a rearranged fixture leaving the squad short of regulars.

The first five minutes were disastrous for Hawkinge as the visitors raced into the lead in the third minute when Sam Potter headed the ball home with a near post header from a corner kick. Two minutes later an attack down the left wing saw Rob Alderman cross the ball into the Hawkinge goal mouth where James Funnell made no mistake from close range.

Hawkinge quickly awoke from their slumber and got into their stride. A Toby Heydon shot forced a good save from Henry Lovering in the Sports goal and then Heydon again looked to have scored but Lovering made a great diving save pushing the ball over the bar for a corner. In the twelfth minute Ashley Easton weaved his way through the Sports defence before firing an unstoppable shot which saw the ball finish in the bottom corner of the net. Just before the break Hawkinge nearly equalised when a superb shot by Heydon was matched with and equally superb save by Lovering.

The second half saw Hawkinge battle for an equaliser but it was the visitors who increased their lead when Potter again headed home a corner kick at the near post leaving the home side with a mountain to climb. A penalty shout by Town was denied by referee William Bussey when Heydon was clattered in the penalty area by Lee Armstrong.

Hawkinge piled on the pressure. A near post header by Wes Blaskett-Foord was headed off the goal line by a Sports defender then a close range shot by Easton hit the bar and Jake Holden saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line. With eight minutes left on the clock Easton scrambled the ball over the line following a corner kick.

As Hawkinge tried to find that elusive equaliser they looked to have succeeded when from a corner kick the ball was headed into the goal but the referee’s assistant flagged claiming the ball hadn’t crossed the line. Where are those Russian linesmen when you need them? The game became very scrappy with players of both sides trying to settle petty squabbles and the referee failing to take control didn’t help this and it continued until the end of the final whistle.

The defeat leaves Hawkinge virtually out of the title race. Although still mathematically possible it is unlikely that title favourites Deal Sports will slip up in their remaining fixtures. Hawkinge have two fixtures to play including an away game at Deal Sports on April 7th and even if they were to win this, Deal only need to win their other two remaining fixtures to clinch the title.

Next up for Hawkinge is an away fixture at Hildenborough Athletic on Saturday 31st March. Kick off at the Racecourse Sports Ground, The Slade, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1DS is 2.45pm.