For the second time this season against Whitehawk, the Rebels were unlucky not to come away with the full 3 points after dominating long periods of this game and adapting well on a difficult pitch only just playable following the freezing conditions of the last fortnight. Ryan McBride equalised early in the second half to cancel out James Fraser’s effort for the Hawks whose goalkeeper Chris Winterton was easily the man of the match producing a number of saves to keep the Rebels out.
On a cold but sunny day, the Rebels started the game well passing and moving when they had the ball and harrying the Hawks players into mistakes. In the first 5 minutes crosses from Darren Budd, Tom Lawley and Matt Piper all went into the box without any Rebels players being able to get on the end of them. The first chance of the match fell to Steve Metcalf who found himself free in the box in a central position following good Rebels passing but the chance was deflected by Winterton’s legs for a corner.
Hawks Josh Jones was harshly booked for taking a free kick before the referee had blown his whistle and this was a number of slightly strange decisions from Mr Bloor. Soon after Jerahl Hughes was sent galloping down the right but Alan Mansfield did well to come out quickly and smother the danger. Most of the Hawks attacking play involved Hughes and he wasted an opportunity by blasting over the crossbar before crossing to James Fraser to shoot and open the scoring for the Hawks in the 21st minute. The shot appeared to take a slight deflection off a Rebels defender and was very much against the run of play.
The goal set the Rebels back for a few minutes as Whitehawk had their best and only period of the game when they were on top. However, after 30 minutes Fraser was replaced by Karley Akehurst and the Rebels came back into the game.
There were few clear chances at either end although the best occurred when Whitehawk broke quickly from a Rebels corner with Hughes clear only to be tackled in the box by a well timed tackle from Matt Hurley.
Yellow cards quickly followed for Mark Knee for a foul on Tom Lawley, Ryan McBride for persistent dissent although the referee didn’t seem to see any of the shirt pulling that Marc Pullan was subjecting him to, and Glen Woodburn for a couple of fouls.
HT 1 – 0
The Rebels started off the second half down the slope and were quickly on the attack again. McBride passed inside to Paul Kennett whose 20 yard shot was saved by Winterton before Worthing equalised in the 50th minute. The ball was played across the 6 yard box and with the Hawks defence and goalkeeper conspicuous by their absence, McBride had the easiest of chances to tap in from 3 yards for a deserved equaliser.
Rebels could have taken the lead 10 minutes later when a cross from Metcalf was flicked on by McBride but Mike Huckett’s volley went the wrong side of the post.
Mansfield had to be alert in the Rebels goal in making a save from Stuart Tuck but it was almost one-way traffic from the Rebels. Winterton made a good save from a Tom Lawley shot and a simple save from a Budd free kick following a foul and a booking for Akehurst.
Whitehawk were really hanging on to their point at this stage in the game with the Rebels showing considerably more fight, quality, movement and fitness than their opponents.
Charlie Walker replaced Lee Newman and Jamie Brotherton and Luke Gedling replaced the injured Lawley (ankle) and Huckett. The final action saw the Rebels have a possible penalty shout which unfortunately was turned down and a corner given instead.
This was a great battling performance from the Rebels who did everything in the game except score the second goal that they deserved.
FT 1-1 Att: 191
Mansfield, Piper, Metcalf, Kennett, Hurley, Woodburn, Budd, Huckett, McBride, Manton, Lawley
Subs – Gedling (for Huckett), Brotherton (for Lawley), Davies, Charles, Clack
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