Hawks fly in for debut at The Lane
THIRD-PLACED Whitehawk fly into the island for the first time tomorrow with their wings clipped by a surprise midweek draw with the Isthmian South East’s worst team, East Grinstead Town.
The Hawks, a progressive club who have twice in recent years tried and failed to change their name to Brighton City, suffered from a classic case of opposition new manager bounce on Tuesday night when they came away from East Grinstead, playing for newly-installed boss Leigh Dynan, with just a point after a distinctly below-par performance.
That the Hawks remain well positioned to push for promotion is on the back of a run of six straight wins at the end of 2019.
They have flown high – much higher than GFC – before.
Only six years ago, the club intended to change its name to Brighton City FC but the FA Council ruled against the proposal.
On the pitch they were winners, though.
The club achieved back to back promotions in the 2012–13 season by winning the Isthmian League Premier Division at the first attempt to earn a place in the Conference South.
The Hawks struggled in their first season in Conference South but in 2014-15 the club enjoyed their most successful season ever, finishing fourth in Conference South and earning a place in the play-off semi-finals against Basingstoke Town.
After a 1–1 draw at the Enclosed Ground, a tremendous strike from fans’ player of the year Jake Robinson in the second leg won the match 1–0 to earn a place in the final against Boreham Wood, who had finished second in the league.
The play-off final finished 1-1 in normal time and an extra time winner for Boreham Wood denied the Hawks what would have been their fourth promotion in six seasons.
Whitehawk completed the season with a 5–0 victory over Lewes at the Amex Stadium to lift the Sussex Senior Cup in front of a crowd of 2,585.
After a good start to the 2015-16 season, the Hawks reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time and beat National League Lincoln City 5-3 in front of a crowd of 1,342.
The club submitted a further application to the Football Association to change their name to Brighton City in December 2015. This application was withdrawn a month later after opposition from fans and chairman John Summers spending time on the terraces at an away game at Chelmsford City. Then the fall.
The Hawks suffered back-to-back relegations, dropping into the Isthmian South East Division for the 2019-20 season, but under new boss Jude Macdonald they have taken off again.