the real fa cup

Imps Silenced By Din

Whitehawk 5-3 Lincoln City
FA Cup 1st Round 8th November 2015

‘Whitehawk…? Where’s that…?’ – must be a question that an increasing number of people have been asking themselves over the past few seasons, so rapid has the Hawks’ rise up the pyramid been.

Having won their first ever FA Cup proper game yesterday, scoring five goals to a hapless Lincoln’s three, that same question will now be crossing the minds of a further wave of football fans – something that everyone associated with the club will be rubbing their hands with glee at.

I won’t pretend that I’ve been through the highs and lows with the Hawks – I only went to my first game last season after moving to Brighton a few months earlier. Yet in that short space of time, I feel I’ve seen enough to get the measure of the club and its standing within the city, and this victory will undoubtedly do more to publicize Whitehawk than any number of tonkings they can hand out to their divisional rivals.

Not that anyone in the know wouldn’t have seen the win coming, or at least the likelihood that there would be goals. Despite disappointing defeats to Basingstoke and Weston-super-Mare in their previous two games, Whitehawk were fielding an excellent team, from back to front, and in Dean Leacock, Jake Robinson and Sergio Torres – to name a few – arguably possessed the greater number of household names than their rivals.

It didn’t take long for the Hawks to take the lead – after Lincoln’s defenders backed off Sam Deering, the midfielder dinked a cross to the back post that was headed in delightfully by crowd-favourite Danny Mills. Twenty minutes or so later, it was 2-0 – Robinson capping off a fine spell for the Hawks by rifling in a second low and hard past Lincoln’s number one (‘not so much’, crowed the Hawks Ultras).

As the Ultras were singing their team into the break, Lincoln pulled one back in added-on time after Mills wrestled Lincoln’s sumo-sized Matt Rhead to the ground but the Imps had shown nothing to suggest that we were set for a real turnaround in the second half.

And so it proved. Playing uphill, Whitehawk again outscored Lincoln – this time by 3-to-2, Sam Deering (x 2) and the excellent David Martin for the Hawks and Rhead (x 2, making it a hat trick of strikes) for the away team. The goals may have been scrappier but the noise from the Din, Whitehawk’s home end for the day, only increased.

With the clock ticking down, a couple of flares were thrown on to the pitch; Lincoln’s hardy band of supporters responded by chucking on a bin – an act of symbolism if ever there was one. A well-mannered pitch invasion later, the majority of the 1,342 crowd – decent but probably still a few short than some might have hoped for – trudged home happy.

An away trip to a Portsmouth or a Sheffield United would provide Whitehawk with the best return from gate receipts but another home draw would suit the club’s owners nicely. In a city where Whitehawk struggles to compete with Brighton and Hove Albion and innumerable other leisure pursuits, a further game like this would be just the thing to turn a few more heads.

Words & Pictures: Lloyd Langman
Lloyd is co-founder of (mostly) Football League website The Two Unfortunates.

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