Fans were in fine form at Whitehawk and smashed this season’s attendance record for the first round of the play-offs.

Some 702 supporters turned out for the Hawks at The Enclosed Ground for a night under the lights, as Shaun Saunder’s men beat Beckenham Town 1-0.

An unusual sight at the ground in East Brighton Park, fans were queueing outside until well after kick off, with both turnstiles open - which is even rarer.

Crowds packed into the Sea End with the Whitehawk Ultras chanting louder than ever as the lads got stuck in to Beckenham, who were noticeably lacking in support.


The Enclosed, or TerraPura as it is also known, must be one of the few grounds in the country where you can watch the sun go down behind the hills and catch a glimpse of the sea while watching a match. Brilliant scenes.

Both sides were getting stuck in, and it made for a scrappy match with plenty of chances, but it remained goalless at the break.

Swapping ends, Hawks fans took over The Din and sprawled around the length of the pitch as the day drifted into darkness and we were in for a gritty battle under the lights.

The noise from the Ultras was absolutely blistering and it felt as though the stands were going to come apart under our feet. Beckenham’s goalkeeper would have been having a complete nightmare.

Chances came thick and fast as Whitehawk piled on the pressure until Nathan Cooper headed one straight into the back of the net in the 59th minute.

The place completely erupted as the Hawks went one ahead, making reaching the play-off finals this Friday become more than just a dream.

The Argus:

They could have just called it a day and defended but the lads got their heads down and went on the hunt for more goals.

It was getting gritty towards in the dying embers of the game with seven agonising minutes added on for extra time, during which Beckenham went down to ten men after Carter was shown a straight red for a tackle on Malachi.

And as the ref blew the final whistle, fans poured from the stands to the side of the pitch to embrace the players, as the reality dawned that the Hawks were now just one step away from promotion to the seventh tier.

The cool evening air became filled with Whitehawk chants as the fans made their way out, before they return to The Enclosed Ground this Friday night to face Hythe Town for one last battle in the fight for promotion.