The meeting between these 2 clubs last October evening at the Enclosed finished goalless and from early on in this encounter you thought history could be repeating itself in this years iteration.
If you take one look at the league table it would suggest that the Hillians would be in for a tough evening at the unbeaten Hawks but Jay Lovett’s men made much the better start. It took just 5 minutes to have the opening chance, Martyn Box charged down Hamish Morrisons clearance and then whipped a ball into the box, Jeff Duah-Kessie nodded it down for Connor Tighe but his goalbound effort was hacked away off the line by Morrison. The Hawks’ first effort of the afternoon came very soon after that chance, a 25 yard dig skidded along the frosty floor and forced Taylor Seymour to get down low to his left and keep it out. The Hillians next chance came after some lovely sweeping football from right to left ended with fullback Dan Cadman being put clear on the left but he got his finish all wrong and it ended up in the Din. The Hillians were controlling possession in the opening 25 minutes but one lapse in concentration almost cost them dear. Whitehawk won themselves a corner and it was whipped towards the near post where former Hill title winner, Rob O’Toole was lurking, he was unmarked and his header rippled the netting – thankfully it was the side netting and nothing more. After that let off, the pattern of the half continued with Hill firmly on top. Jeff Duah-Kessie had a couple of half chances, one that ended up in the sea and another which was on target. He bundled his way into the right hand side of the box and from a tight angle he leathered the ball towards Hawks shot stopper Luke Glover but he had his angles covered and kept it out. The final Hillians chance of the half fell to Ex Hawk Connor Tighe but after the ball fell to him in the box, he leant back and saw his left footed effort go sailing over.
Shaun Saunders clearly told his team what he thought of the first half as the home side came out much better in the second 45. Just 4 second half minutes had passed when a cross from the left landed on Javuan Splatt’s, but fortunately for Hill, the ball flashed wide of Taylor Seymour’s upright. Hawks continued up that early pressure and must’ve thought they would of opened the scoring when an almighty goalmouth scramble occurred in the Hill box and you were just expecting the net to ripple but somehow the resolute Hill defence scrambled the ball away. The visitors had rode that mini Hawks storm and got back on the front foot, Jeff Duah-Kessie burst down the left hand side and whipped in a teasing cross looking for Hitman Dan but it was inches ahead of him as he came flying in at the far post. Was this game set up for a 1-0 Connor Tighe? His next attempt was on target after being found by yet another Jeff cross but he volleyed his effort straight into the grateful arms of Luke Glover. If that Connor effort was close, this next one the travelling Hillians thought was in. Yet another cross down the left found Tighe, this time he controlled it and beat his man, Glover was beaten with his finish but the ball skidded across the box and narrowly wide, leaving everyone in blue with head in hands. With just 13 minutes remaining, the chance of the night came for Hill. Substitute Reggie Ward whipped a beauty of a cross in to the box, Dan Perry had peeled off Alex Malins into space, 7 yards out, centre of goal, Hitman headed it down into the ground but straight at Luke Glover who saved with his legs and Hawks breathed an almighty sigh of relief. It had practically been all Hill for 80 minutes but Hawks were finishing the game stronger, in this pulsating encounters final chance, Hawks could’ve nicked it when a shot from the left hand side flashed across Taylor Seymour’s goal but luckily for Hill, no one was coming in at the far post and both had to settle for a point.
An extremely positive showing from Jay Lovett’s men, a point away on a Tuesday evening against unbeaten Whitehawk will never be something to grumble at but on another day we perhaps could’ve been leaving with maximum points.
Next up for your Hillians it’s a trip to Gay Dawn Farm to lock horns with Corinthian on Saturday afternoon.