On Saturday 9th November, Hastings United welcome our East Brighton neighbours Whitehawk for an FA Trophy second qualifying round tie.
This home game is United’s reward for their emphatic 4 – 0 away win at AFC Dunstable (Southern Central Division) in the previous round
United lie second (22 points) in the Isthmian South East Division a point behind leaders Cray Valley. Last Saturday’s 2 – 0 home victory over Hythe Town ensured United remained unbeaten after ten games which includes keeping seven clean sheets. And they boast the best defensive record across all four Isthmian leagues, having conceded just three goals. Putting their form into perspective, in their last six games across all competitions, United have won five and drawn one.
FA Trophy wise, in the preliminary round United won 2 – 1 at Hythe Town before outplaying Dunstable on a soggy Bedfordshire afternoon.
Whitehawk are, of course, residents in the same league as United. They lie mid-table in ninth position (14 points) having played nine games. After losing three consecutive league games Whitehawk have turned their form around with three subsequent victories, including two in this competition.
In their preliminary round Whitehawk beat Romford (North Division) 1 – 0 before progressing with another home win, beating Hendon 4 – 1 (Southern Premier South Division).
The FA Trophy is a competition open to Step 1 to 4 clubs, from which 296 teams have entered this year’s competition. Having won their preliminary and first qualifying round, this is the second of potentially three qualifying rounds, after which comes the first round proper. The reward for reaching the final is a visit to the national stadium for ‘Non-League Finals Day’ next May.
Both teams have won their previous three games, nonetheless United are unbeaten at home and Whitehawk have won just once away. Home advantage could be a key factor particularly with United’s passionate supporters behind them. The last time the teams met, in September, United took the spoils with a 2 – 0 home victory. However, this is a cup-tie and therefore anything can happen.
Over 400 people attended the entertaining game in September so there is the possibility this season’s home attendance record of 508 will be surpassed. Come along and show your support.
The game kicks off at 3pm, the Pilot Field (Elphinstone Road, TN34 2AX)
Admission is £10 for adults, £6 for concessions and under 16s free.