Thermals were required wearing at an extra-chilly Champion Hill yesterday afternoon as Dulwich Hamlet swept aside struggling Hendon in a game they could have won by a far greater margin.
Another big crowd of 1,146 were inside the ground, although some preferred to save a few quid and watch from over a fence, 1930s-style (see above).
There was a 3pm kick off for this Bank Holiday Monday game, and Hendon got off to a snappy start as Dulwich had trouble holding on to possession.
Hamlet soon found their feet and began to take control.
Shots were coming in from all directions, but credit goes to Hendon’s keeper, Tom Lovelock, who made a couple of fine saves.
“I can make this ball, I can make this ba…… oh, bugger.”
After a goalmouth scramble that seemed to go on for an eternity, Ashley Carew nodded home from close range to put Dulwich 1-0 up in the 25th minute.
The Rabble celebrate.
Half time: Dulwich 1 Hendon 0.
Great to see the trestles back on display, even if their purpose remains a mystery deeper than Erich von Däniken’s wobbly theories.
The tea bar table has been something of a disappointment these days, and this was another poor show.
A miscellany of divots.
Come the second half and Hamlet piled on the pressure.
The clear blue skies meant that the temperature kept on getting lower. It was mighty chilly!
Kenny Beaney made it 2-0 to Dulwich in the 62nd minute.
Hamlet had a goal disallowed for offside, while Hendon added a bit of late tension when they scored in the 71st minute.
Full time: Hamlet 2 Hendon 1.
On the Hamlet forum, PD added his thoughts:
Much better football today. First half – much huff and puff but little results and hardly a shot from range
Second half, great football, some old style “sexy football.” At least two Hamlet goals ruled offside, both looked legitimate
Attendance at 1,146 lower than I anticipated and below average (maybe because work tomorrow ?) – but still over one thousand
Incredibly we could have gone third today had it not been for poor goal difference – league toppers Bognor Regis Town are now just 4 points ahead, admittedly with 3 games in hand.
In fact, if we could contrive towin at Canvey Island next Saturday and both Needham Market and Havant & Waterloville lose – we would go second on goal difference
It was lovely to see Hendon fan SteveHFC add his kind comments about his trip to the ground:
PP later added another of his comprehensive match reports:
When they got their goal, at a point where they didn’t really look like scoring, the game suddenly had “Archbishop Desmond” written all over it, but after a bit of a wobbly five minutes their threat subsided and by the end we looked the more likely scorers.
Hendon, with one or two players who barely looked Premier Division standard, applied themselves well and fought hard, but we really should have blown them away during the first 25 minutes or so after half time.
One friend commented that “we seem to be contriving new ways of not scoring”.
At another point we produced a mesmerising passage of possession play and quick accurate passing that, had it been done by a top Premier League side with a neat shot tucked into the net at the end of it, would have had the pundits drooling but typically for us the whole thing fizzled out before we got close to goal.
We frequently seem to get punished fully for relatively minor errors, whilst having to work painstakingly for ages to get our own rewards. Our ratio of completed passes to goals scored must be about three times the size of some other teams in the division.
Aesthetically that’s probably as well as we’ve played all season, but we possibly paid for not having a proper centre forward.
I thought Carew played well and was involved in most of what we did best, as well as being alert enough to bag the first goal after the keeper had made a save, but it was no great surprise that he was the one who carelessly gave the ball away for the counter-attack that led to their goal.
One of their strikers managed to escape the attentions of Drage on our right flank with rest of our defence caught out of shape, and after running the ball into the box he benefited from a fortuitous rebound before lashing a shot in off the top of the far post from an awkward angle.
I thought it was odd to take off Carew almost immediately after than and replace him directly with Millar, who is strong and works hard but has nowhere near as much authority or subtlety; it would have made more sense to me to put Millar up front and drop Tomlin “into the hole”.
Another rampaging wing-back display by Green, who looks like an Olympic 400m hurdler in full flow, while Clunis did an equally good if less spectacular job on the other flank.
Drage & Chambers again revelled in the opportunity to play out stylishly from the back, and Beaney was effortlessly neat and tidy in midfield as well as bagging his first goal since the opening day.
Team (3-4-2-1): Edwards – Weatherstone, Drage, Chambers – Clunis, Kargbo, Beaney (c), Green – Carew – Tomlin, Sekajja. Subs: Millar (for Carew), Murrell-Williamson (for Sekajja), James, Yamfam, Taylor (not used). Att. 1,146
Here’s how the table looks as of 3rd Jan 2017:
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