Friday, December 31, 2100

Saturday, December 20, 2008

THIS AFTERNOON'S PREVIEW - EASTBOURNE TOWN (AWAY) KO 3 PM

The South Coast in late December! Sounds like a rest and recuperation cure from Victorian days. Okay chaps, a brisk morning constitutional along the seafront then a refreshing dip in sea water cold enough to form ice in the blood stream! Still after the R&R of the postponement of last weekend’s home game with Walton Casuals, a hard-fought Surrey Senior Cup victory in midweek to restore confidence after defeat to Kingstonian then surrender to Corinthian-Casuals, manager Craig Edwards will be urging his troops on to a morale-boosting performance that could That recent dip in form for Dulwich was halted in midweek as troublesome Camberley Town were eventually dispatched in a 2-1 victory, narrow on paper if less so on the field of play, thanks to goals from Laurent Hamici and Shayne Mangodza. The game also marked a half-century of appearances for skipper Marc Cumberbatch. Tidy performances across the park from a number of players will also prove a handy boost in confidence for the Hamlet as they go into what promises to be a tough encounter, with Eastbourne harbouring promotion ambitions of their own after a difficult debut season last term. Town seem to be in a much more comfortable position this year, currently sitting in 13th spot, their 27 points seeing them five behind the Hamlet and just two wins off the last play-off spot. Though their form can be erratic, they have proved themselves tenacious opponents against some of the division’s top boys, beating Cray Wanderers at the Saffrons, holding Met Police on their own manor, doing likewise to Folkestone at home and only narrowly losing to the likes of Fleet and Ashford.
They certainly proved arduous opposition for Dulwich when the two clashed at quaint Saffrons, home to the Town since antediluvian days, on an afternoon when a latter-day Noah might have scurried for the gopher wood to construct a new Ark. Luck was certainly on the side of the Hamlet as Town held the upper hand but the goal had Dame Fortune fingerprints all over it, Peter Cooper’s speculative strike from distance slewing in at the post with Sheikh Ceesay unsighted. She had her revenge though, Eastbourne denied a brace of seemingly legitimate goals for offside offences either side of Junior Baker’s equaliser, the substitute on hand to tuck home the ball after Henry Darko’s skidding shot had beaten the ‘keeper only to spring back off the base of the upright to delight the soaked sopranos of the Hamlet Travelling Choir.
Dulwich intend to strike an end to their mediocre league form of late, 1 win in their last 4 nothing to proclaim from the rooftops with Edwards looking to build on that win in midweek and stymie talk of the Manger of the Month curse! That should be assisted by the return to goal scoring form, and in spectacular style too, of leading scorer Laurent Hamici netting his 18th goal of the season on Tuesday evening.
All the better for Edwards will have to call on every resource for today’s game, with suspension and injury taking its toll. Stanley Muguo and Daryl Plummer will both be suspended for today’s game, while Billy Chattaway is unavailable. Potential back up left back Kyle Graham is also likely to be out, injury meaning he was unavailable for the Camberley match, meaning Scott Simpson will be likely to cover this position, where he put in an surefooted if unheralded performance against Camberley. Injury prone right back Peter Martin could also be a doubt, injury keeping him out on Tuesday, Ryan Adams making his full debut in that slot that night. The injury list is certainly growing with Graham and Martin joining long-term absentees Walid Matata, Mo Coly and Charlie Taylor on the sidelines. Tirrell Grant is likely to be included in the squad, Adams might take the right back spot, but may face competition from Mangodza, should Cedric Ngakam drop back to centre half. Theo Fairweather-Johnson could re-take his position on the left wing.
Like Edwards his opposite number at the Saffrons, Ady Colwell, has a number of selection headaches primarily in the vanguard, where he lost striker Danny Leach in midweek after a disagreement. The former Albion trainee, joined Town from Eastbourne Borough in the summer, has scored seven goals for the Ryman Division One South side this season. Colwell will also be without striker Jamie Salvidge for Dulwich Hamlet’s visit as he has a knee ligament injury that could sideline him for a month. Defender Luke Denton is also on the injured list after needing 12 stitches in a head wound picked up in the 1-0 win over Chipstead earlier this month while centre half Lloyd Anthony is out as he is serving a 35-day ban after being sent off in a university match. Town’s squad is further stretched by the loss of Peter Featherstone with a thigh strain but Colwell welcomes back Matt Aldred. Speaking to the local Argus, Colwell said: “Matt is back from Loughborough University and he did really well for us last season over the Christmas period.
“He’s strong and fit as a fiddle. He can play defence or as a defensive midfielder and do a good job.”
The decimation of the forward line by injury and indignation is somewhat tempered by the arrival of striker Ethan Strevett, the young striker quick-footed and dangerous in the box. England Schools trialist James Norwood also boosts Colwell’s options in attack as the frontman is free to play during the holiday period.
Town slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Dulwich in the opening game of the season but Colwell is confident his side are capable of getting something from the return.
He said: “They had a purple patch when we played them but if we can cope with that high-tempo football they play for periods this time I am sure we can take something from the game.”
Today’s game’ kick off is at 3 pm at The Saffrons, Eastbourne.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dulwich Hamlet 2 Camberley Town 1

Dulwich Hamlet 2 Camberley Town 1
Surrey Senior Cup – Second Round
Tuesday 16th December 2008

The faithful few of Champion Hill catch their breath in frozen bursts; the icy fingers of Jack Frost’s bony hands scratch open flesh and inject their chill contagion into thinning blood of thinning crowd. Upon the field of play, the Krooners have come to town. It must be Cup time for December is so littered with these, County Cups and League Cup and so it is, this time the Surrey Senior Cup, a competition of which Dulwich Hamlet are still proud holders of the record victories, despite the long embargo of the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. However the suburbanites of Sutton are creeping even closer to the Hamlet tally and the baton of maintaining that proud history of victory must pass to a new generation.
While Saturday’s torrents had given the Dulwich lads a weekend of early Christmas shopping, the Camberley Krooners pitch had passed muster in spite of the downpours and with a tumultuous 3-3 draw with Molesey behind them, one might have expected them to come into the game a little gingerly, with the weekend exertions still tweaking muscles, grinding joints. But with a strong record in league action, beaten just once, the feisty Krooners proved troublesome opposition all night, fighting back from a Laurent Hamici goal to draw level, until, with ten minutes left and the spectre of extra time, even penalties, looming, Shayne Mangodza pounced on a 'keeper's spillage to tuck away the winning goal. Victory sends Dulwich Kingsmeadow to take on AFC Wimbledon in the next round come early January 2009.
Camberley started the brighter and but for a fine Mangodza tackle might have scored as early as the second minute, Robert Lance craftily flicking a low drive in the penalty area back into the path of John Swift, the Camberley man stonewalled in the act of shooting by the big centre-half's crunching tackle.
Dulwich served notice of attacking intent in the fifth minute as Hamici seized upon a deflected Theo Fairweather-Johnson flicked cross, nipping in ahead of keeper Liam Stone seeing his low shot, drilling in from a acute angle end up in the back of the net. Sorry to say, the route to goal had been through a gap in the net, the game delayed as speedy repairs were implemented upon the offending breach.
Once the game had restarted it was hell-for-leather football. Form a corner Cedric Ngakam flicked a header on to Hamici, a clipped volley finding the ‘keeper hands. A swift breakout almost had Dulwich caught cold, Lance spearing the centre of defence, the goal looking before him until Fairweather-Johnson’s selfless saving tackle on the edge of the area.
On song, The Krooners were within a whisker of a not-undeserved lead as Ian Messenger, wide on the right, struck an angled ball across the face of goal, fractionally wide of the far upright.
Despite scales of chance weighing heavily in the Camberley balance it was Dulwich who took the lead on 35 minutes with a stunning finish from Laurent Hamici, the striker ending a frustrating drought of scoring as he latched on to a flicked pass from a low right wing cross to hammer the ball through 'keeper Liam Stone.
Sol Pinnock was denied five minutes from the break as a cleared corner dropped to his toes, a curled effort smartly tipped over the crossbar courtesy of a springy leap from Stone. The ‘keeper nearly blocked his copybook from the resultant corner as he fumbled the ball in the cauldron of the six yard box but was reprieved when the ball finally ping-ponged into his open hands.
A smart Sheikh Ceesay block from Adam Cornell kept Hamlet ahead going into the break and the second half early manoeuvres saw Dulwich blitzing the Camberley goal. The ball was swept out to Fairweather-Johnson, the tricky winger skipping inside, his shot smacking off a defender into the path of Hamici. His effort too was blocked, running to Ngakam but as if to reinforce ill-fortune the big Frenchman’s drive struck Stone, a defender’s boots finally rubbing out the danger. With Hamici curling a cracker wide of the far upright it seemed as if the Hamlet would make their higher status tell, particularly as Krooner after Krooner seemed to be feeling the effects of their high-octane opening.
However Camberley hit a high note 19 minutes in. A contentious free kick had Hamlet singing a song of protest, but to no avail, and the quick delivery found Dulwich's defence napping and Joe Johnson had the Hamlet rearguard snookered as he was the grateful recipient of a neat delivery, slicing a hole through the middle and firing a fine finish past Ceesay.
22 minutes a deep corner to the back stick saw a looped header from Hamici drop wide of the back stick. Soon after a weak clearance was snaffled up by Scott Simpson, a defence-splitting threaded pass finding Fairweather-Johnson but his scooped shot zipping wide of the far post. Pinnock similarly stuck one wide moments later.
Back and forth the game flowed, neither side able to finish off their chances with a killer touch until 10 minutes from time. Forced into a change as they defended a corner, Lance hobbling away to be replaced by Chris Roderick, Camberley cleared the ball only as far as Scott Simpson, playing at left back. A ferocious shot whistled through on goal, Stone down to block but the drive proved too tasty for the young custodian and snaffling up the loose ball was Mangodza to prod the ball home and spare all concerned an extra half hour in bone-chilling conditions.
The spark in Camberley hearts was still not snuffed out. If fans prayed for the warmth of the snug and the embrace of ale, players still hunted victory. Camberley’s quarry evaded then and at the last Hamlet might have had a fourth. The scent of goal in his nostrils, like the puma upon the pampas, Simpson sped through the tiring Krooner lines, a sweet strike to polish off the charge. Curmudgeonly defence blocked his effort, the ball running to Pinnock, a low curling drive bringing out the best of Stone as he turned the ball away low at the post.

DHFC: Sheikh Ceesay; Ryan Adams; Scott Simpson; Benson Paka (Daryl Plummer 77); Shayne Mangodza; Marc Cumberbatch; Theo Fairweather-Johnson; Cedric Ngakam; Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo; Sol Pinnock
Substitutes not used: Famoud Sonko; Stanley Muguo; Tirrel Grant; Jamie Lunan (GK)

CTFC: Liam Stone; Dale Webb; Darren Barnard (Darren Redwood 81); John Swift; Julian Sills; Ian Messenger; Craig Parker (Jack Keenan 59); Jefferson Gowland; Robert Lance (Chris Roderick 80); Adam Cornell; Joe Johnson
Substitutes not used: Paul Barry; Nathan Sayers

Goalscoring:
1-0 DHFC Laurent Hamici 35th minute
1-1 CTFC: Joe Johnson 64
2-1 DHFC: Shayne Mangodza 80

Officials:
Referee: Mr Eamonn Smith (Mayford)
Assistant: Mr Shaun Farrer (Redhill) & Mr Paul Burton (Redhill)
Fourth Official: Mr Martin Cook

Attendance: TBC

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Corinthian-Casuals 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1

Corinthian-Casuals 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Ryman Isthmian League Division One South
Tuesday 9th December 2008

Dulwich lost back to back Isthmian League games for the first time since August 2007 as the hair of the dog, following the hangover of Friday defeat to the K's, proved no tonic on a chill night on King George's Field.
It was a heartening start for the Hamlet with Billy Chattaway going close early on, snatching up a feeble clearance and clipping a long-range effort from 30 yards out back over the head of a stranded Colin Harris, the floater beating the 'keeper but landing on the roof of the 'net.
However Dulwich shot themselves in the foot soon after when poor defending gave Corinthian-Casuals a gift start after they had weathered the early Dulwich assault. Kane Sergeant deserted by his marker as a rightwing cross dropped at his feet, Jamie Lunan powerless as a close range effort was hammered home into the far corner.
Matters got worse on 20 minutes when Hamlet's stuttering defence cleared the ball straight to Sergeant, the winger as surprised as any in the sparse crowd as his cross cum shot sailed over the head of Lunan and into the far top corner of the net.
Scott Simpson rolled a decent chance just wide of the far post as the half hour approached then four minutes later Sol Pinnock was hauled to the floor five yards from the edge of the penalty area. The culprit, Casuals' skipper Chris Horwood, was cautioned, but Pinnock delivered further punishment as he delightfully curled the ball over the Chocolate and Pink wall beyond the fingertips of the diving Colin Harris. A rare bright light in otherwise drab Hamlet half, but one that was almost extinguished shortly before the break, when Sergeant came within a whisker of a first half hat-trick as a 15-yard drive narrowly missed the upright.
At least the second half was an improvement but resilient Casuals set up stall to batter away the Dulwich offence. Shayne Mangodza's speculative drive from distance flicked off the head of a defender but instead of deceiving Harris it fell neatly into his hands. A moment later Hamici's run set up Daryl Plummer overlapping on the right, his shot bazookaed low away the six yard box with nary a Hamlet man within range. The Casuals custodian later denied the same player hacking away an angled drive with an outstretched foot.
A quarter hour hammering against the door of the Casuals came to naught and Hamlet suffered a further blow as Pinnock hobbled off. Despite all the possession the Hamlet never truly convinced. A number of decent chances went begging. Laurent Hamici stabbed the ball wide with only 'keeper Harris to beat, and a low cross from Daryl Plummer had the Casuals defence in disarray but none of our players could apply the finishing touch. Harris also made important saves from Sol Pinnock and Laurent Hamici. Later Cedric Ngakam headed wide from close range following a free-kick from Benson Paka. Despite a couple of substitutions a hoped for late rally never materialised.
Counterattacking Casuals might easily have extended their lead as the defence, rudimentary yet effective, did its job. Late substitute Joe McNerney should have claimed a third for his side when the ball was delivered all but gift-wrapped at his feet, a powerful run and shot only denied a goal when Lunan scrambled the ball behind at the base of the upright. Not that it mattered for Hamlet were sinking in a sorry slough of despond, self-inflicted. The red-faced man on the touchline was none too jolly, incandescent with rage.

DHFC: Jamie Lunan; Shayne Mangodza; Billy Chattaway; Benson Paka; Cedric Ngakam (Mamadou Meite-Sissocko (79); Marc Cumberbatch; Daryl Plummer; Sol Pinnock (Dominic Weston 69); Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo (Ryan Adams 79); Scott Simpson
Substitutes not used: Fasineh Koroma; Ryan Adams; Sheikh Ceesay

CCFC: Colin Harris; Daniel Sintim; Byron Brown; Jamie Reive; Chris Horwood (Capt.); Tyrone Myton (Eseosa Omoregle 63); Tom Jelley; Joe Funicello; Joe Nwoko; Sam Robinson; Kane Sergeant (Joe McNerney 77)
Substitutes not used: Joe McNerney; Ryan Hughes; Arran Bufton

Goalscoring:
1-0 CCFC: Kane Sergeant 11th minute
2-0 CCFC Kane Sergeant 20th minute
2-1 DHFC Sol Pinnock 36th minute

Officials:
Referee: Mr Alex Neil
Assistant Referees: Mr Simeon Potter and Mr Stefan Malczewski

Attendance: 81

Corinthian-Casuals 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1

Corinthian-Casuals 2 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Ryman Isthmian League Division One South
Tuesday 9th December 2008


Dulwich lost back to back Isthmian League games for the first time since August 2007 as the hair of the dog, following the hangover of Friday defeat to the K's, proved no tonic on a chill night on King George's Field.
It was a heartening start for the Hamlet with Billy Chattaway going close early on, snatching up a feeble clearance and clipping a long-range effort from 30 yards out back over the head of a stranded Colin Harris, the floater beating the 'keeper but landing on the roof of the 'net.
However Dulwich shot themselves in the foot soon after when poor defending gave Corinthian-Casuals a gift start after they had weathered the early Dulwich assault. Kane Sergeant deserted by his marker as a rightwing cross dropped at his feet, Jamie Lunan powerless as a close range effort was hammered home into the far corner.
Matters got worse on 20 minutes when Hamlet's stuttering defence cleared the ball straight to Sergeant, the winger as surprised as any in the sparse crowd as his cross cum shot sailed over the head of Lunan and into the far top corner of the net.
Scott Simpson rolled a decent chance just wide of the far post as the half hour approached then four minutes later Sol Pinnock was hauled to the floor five yards from the edge of the penalty area. The culprit, Casuals' skipper Chris Horwood, was cautioned, but Pinnock delivered further punishment as he delightfully curled the ball over the Chocolate and Pink wall beyond the fingertips of the diving Colin Harris. A rare bright light in otherwise drab Hamlet half, but one that was almost extinguished shortly before the break, when Sergeant came within a whisker of a first half hat-trick as a 15-yard drive narrowly missed the upright.
At least the second half was an improvement but resilient Casuals set up stall to batter away the Dulwich offence. Shayne Mangodza's speculative drive from distance flicked off the head of a defender but instead of deceiving Harris it fell neatly into his hands. A moment later Hamici's run set up Daryl Plummer overlapping on the right, his shot bazookaed low away the six yard box with nary a Hamlet man within range. The Casuals custodian later denied the same player hacking away an angled drive with an outstretched foot.
A quarter hour hammering against the door of the Casuals came to naught and Hamlet suffered a further blow as Pinnock hobbled off. Despite all the possession the Hamlet never truly convinced. A number of decent chances went begging. Laurent Hamici stabbed the ball wide with only 'keeper Harris to beat, and a low cross from Daryl Plummer had the Casuals defence in disarray but none of our players could apply the finishing touch. Harris also made important saves from Sol Pinnock and Laurent Hamici. Later Cedric Ngakam headed wide from close range following a free-kick from Benson Paka. Despite a couple of substitutions a hoped for late rally never materialised.
Counterattacking Casuals might easily have extended their lead as the defence, rudimentary yet effective, did its job. Late substitute Joe McNerney should have claimed a third for his side when the ball was delivered all but gift-wrapped at his feet, a powerful run and shot only denied a goal when Lunan scrambled the ball behind at the base of the upright. Not that it mattered for Hamlet were sinking in a sorry slough of despond, self-inflicted. The red-faced man on the touchline was none too jolly, incandescent with rage.


DHFC: Jamie Lunan; Shayne Mangodza; Billy Chattaway; Benson Paka; Cedric Ngakam (Mamadou Meite-Sissocko (79); Marc Cumberbatch; Daryl Plummer; Sol Pinnock (Dominic Weston 69); Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo (Ryan Adams 79); Scott Simpson
Substitutes not used: Fasineh Koroma; Ryan Adams; Sheikh Ceesay

CCFC: Colin Harris; Daniel Sintim; Byron Brown; Jamie Reive; Chris Horwood (Capt.); Tyrone Myton (Eseosa Omoregle 63); Tom Jelley; Joe Funicello; Joe Nwoko; Sam Robinson; Kane Sergeant (Joe McNerney 77)
Substitutes not used: Joe McNerney; Ryan Hughes; Arran Bufton


Goalscoring:
1-0 CCFC: Kane Sergeant 11th minute
2-0 CCFC Kane Sergeant 20th minute
2-1 DHFC Sol Pinnock 36th minute

Officials:
Referee: Mr Alex Neil
Assistant Referees: Mr Simeon Potter and Mr Stefan Malczewski

Attendance: 81

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dulwich Hamlet 0 Kingstonian 3

Dulwich Hamlet 0 Kingstonian 3
Ryman Isthmian League Division One South
Friday 5th December 2008

“Ah! Well a-day! What evil looks, had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.” The curse of the Manager of the Month cast its spell over the Hill as before a Friday night congregation of 400 or more, Craig Edwards Dulwich Hamlet had their long run sans defeat crushed in controversial style by a Kingstonian side who made a man advantage of more than a half tell to their profit, though it took until the dying minutes, as the cloying ground sapped the last dregs of energy from valiant Hamlet, for a brace of goals to put a victorious sheen upon a tenuous lead that Dulwich threatened to erase for large chucks of a pounding second half.
Four hundred plus at the Hill, the credit crunch forgotten for a night, the promotion crunch the topic for conversation as a judder of electric excitement crackled through the chill air of East Dulwich. Newly crowned Manager of the Month Craig Edwards ranged against the XI of Alan Dowson and his table topping K’s, the former keen to extend his charges’ stampede into the promotion places, the latter anxious to end a winless spell that had seen the chasing pack snap ever closer of the heels of his team. Edwards called upon the same starting eleven that had frustrated and fustigated Fleet Saturday last, Dowson shuffled his pack bringing in erstwhile Hamlet hero Jason Turley to stiffen a rearguard that had proved so porous lately, experience too added at the back with the promotion of old hand Wayne Finnie from the bench.
The pessimistic might have feared a nervous, tentative opening from trepidatious teams eager not to lose points to fellow promotion protagonists. the naysayers slunk back to their darkened dungeons of despondency as the game sprung into animated action ‘ere the first frozen peep from referee Mr Smith had drifted up into the dank dark skies of South London, the game a pulsating amalgam of bulldozer and Ferrari. Dulwich had the better of the early openings, best of the chances from the booming boot of Jamie Lunan as his free kick dropped into the Kingstonian area, flicked on to Shayne Mangodza, the defender nodding the ball goalwards over K’s ‘keeper Luke Garrard but left to watch in agony as the header loping a fraction over the crossbar.
The K’s rejoindered as Carl Wilson-Denis, a flash of summer lightning in a brief Hamlet career before larger purses beckoned, motored past Billy Chattaway at left back, cutting inside and laying a ball sweetly upon the toes of Simon Huckle, the K’s midfielder wasting the opening with shot ballooned over the crossbar.
What might have been a calamitous clearance from Garrard proved the precursor for the evening opening goal 12 minutes in. K’s claiming the sliced hoof in the middle of the park, the ball spread out to the wing and Liam Collins with the turbocharger at full chat. A delivery to Tommy Williams, all peroxide tonsure and bohemian beard, the veteran midfield stroking a sweet strike that deserved to find the back of the net as Lunan was left spellbound. A brief relief as the ball cannoned back from angle of post and bar but all too brief as Wilson-Dennis snuck ahead of the last defenders and tucked the rebound home as he lurked on the edge of the six yard box.
Were it not for Lunan, the deficit might have been rapidly doubled as the diminutive Jamie Byatt switched on the afterburners once more, penetrating Hamlet defences on the left wing after dragging down a steepling crossfield ball. Beating a brace of defenders, Lunan remained his last obstacle but one he could not beat, the Dulwich custodian blocking a close range attempt.
A riposte from the Hamlet as despite slipping on the treacherous turf, Junior Kaffo kept a steady leg to poke the ball into the path of Laurent Hamici, the forward’s bazooka blast rippling the side netting as Garrard flung himself across goal. Moments later and the K’s defence was breached once more, a booming delivery from the right and Benson Paka picking out Daryl Plummer ghosting in behind a heavy-footed Turley. Plummer skipped back Garrard as the ‘keeper prostrated himself before him, but the angle to goal had contracted almost to nothing. Still Plummer got away a shot on target, the ball beating the covering defender but bouncing back into play from the base of the upright before being propelled stratospherically to safety.
Science blended with pugilism on muddied fields, antagonists all as the sides traded chances, K’s the clearer of them with Bobby Traynor, usually a deadly assassin in front of goal, sending Collins rightwing delivery spiralling over the bar after he had stretched out a foot ahead of a diving Lunan. Seconds later and the leprechaun of the left was playing his tricks upon the Hamlet defence but Lunan was once more his nemesis out to block.
A loud plaint from the Hamlet as Lunan’s free kick caused consternation in the visitors’ penalty area, Marc Cumberbatch shoved to the floor as he went in pursuit of a loose ball. A rapid breakout from the men in hoops and a last ditch attempt at a tackle on the edge of the area, the man in black cautioning offender Plummer but Williams’ free kick hardly worthy of the name as the wall absorbed the first attempt and the rebound larruped well wide. Left in a wilderness of midfield, Byatt set sights on goal but a weak effort proved little danger to Lunan.
Eight minutes from the break, the game took a pivotal turn in favour of the hosts. A clash on the half way line say Junior Kaffo sickeningly crumple to the floor, Mr Smith ignoring matters for a moment until drawn to the motionless Kaffo, summoning assistance from the bench. As he was doing so, the furies were unleashed as players rushed from all corners to “discuss” the incident. Turley spat out disparaging words upon the horizontal Kaffo, but it was mild compared to the wrath erupting around him. Amidst the mêlée, harsh words were exchanged, the officials impotent as players played peacemakers amidst the tension. Mr Smith stepped back, summoned his assistants from their distant posts before dispensing long-drawn-out justice. The sentences might not match the time taken to mete out the punishment. Eventually a red card to Stanley Muguo was flourished. K’s Adam Johnstone was summoned top the bench then Laurent Hamici – a yellow card for each. Contrasting reactions from home bench and away, Edwards incandescent, the world against him and his men once more, Dowson a Cheshire Cat grin upon his face as his men escaped the noose. A further caution as 45 minutes rang up, Wilson-Dennis booked as a quickly free kick was blasted against the back of his legs, meant interminable additional time but further chances failed to materialise.
The second half, we mused, might well be the Alamo. K’s were out bouncing around the pitch ahead of the second half long before their hosts, locked in spirited discussion in the dressing room as they planned second half retaliation. Yet it was the K’s who were first to show after the break. Amidst a penalty area mêlée, Simpson’s tackle on Collins draw wails of complaint from red clad warriors but Mr Smith evened his tally of rebuffed appeals, brushing away the pleas.
Missed chances continued to dog the K’s but diminished Dulwich were not prepared to lay down and die. Halftime had seen Chattaway withdrawn with industrious Simpson dropping back to cover that role albeit with an attacking portfolio still to carry. Replacing Chattaway on the field and Simpson in the vanguard was Sol Pinnock, the prodigal son making his return to the Hamlet after errant ways had seen him move from tenants Fisher, down to Kentish Welling and over to suburban Walton & Hersham, but South London’s call could not resisted by the prodigious urban sophisticate, Acacia Avenue switch for Lordship Lane.
The sending off late in the first half proved to much for Dulwich who failed to create any clear cut chances in the second half resorting to long range efforts gaining a few corner kicks at most, which were subsequently wasted. The missing man left gaps, in space if not in heart, and Hamlet pushed ever onwards a bevy of corners forced as the pressure was upped. K’s defence, reinforcements from all over the field called upon when the pink and blue wave drove on, held firm, Dulwich unable to scramble one through, Paka, Hamici and Cumberbatch all trying but failing.
Hamlet spirit could have been bottled in the persona of Kaffo, who strove manfully even when hampered by cramp until replaced by Fas Koroma midway through the half. As the syrupy pitch tugged even harder at tiring limbs, a killer blow came from Byatt with 8 minutes remaining, painfully within moments of a Hamlet attack being thwarted, the pocket-sized wingman with a cudgel blow to Hamlet hopes as he spied a space to shoot and unleashed an unerringly drive low into the bottom corner of the net beyond the fingertips of the plunging Lunan. Byatts’s maiden goal for the K’s saw the winger submerged under a shower of so many kisses one wonder if mistletoe was dangled from the Dulwich bar!
If one hex had not been enough, the moment the Voice of Champion Hill crackled into life to announce Lunan’s merited award as Man of the Match, the Hamlet custodian found himself picking the ball from the back of the net. The game had already moved into stoppage time but K’s with a cushion chose an offensive option for a corner, the ball swung deep across the box to the Simon Huckle, awaiting alone at the back of the box, and taking a single touch to bring the ball upon his spell before letting loose a firecracker strike into the roof of the net.
Teams:
DHFC: Jamie Lunan; Shayne Mangodza; Billy Chattaway (Sol Pinnock HT); Benson Paka; Cedric Ngakam; Marc Cumberbatch; Daryl Plummer; Stanley Muguo; Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo (Fasineh Koroma 83); Scott Simpson
Substitutes not used: Dominic Weston; Mamadou Meite-Sissocko; Sheikh Ceesay (GK)

KFC: Luke Garrard; Jason Turley; Jon Coke; Adam Thompson; Wayne Finnie; Simon Huckle; Liam Collins; Tommy Williams; Bobby Traynor; Carl Wilson-Denis (Jon Neal 67);Jamie Byatt
Substitutes not used: Jamie Beer; Neil Lampton; Rob Sheridan; Luke Naughton (GK)

Goalscoring:
1-0 KFC Carl Wilson-Denis 12th minute
2-0 KFC Jamie Byatt 83rd minute
3-0 KFC Simon Huckle 90+1 minutes

Officials:
Referee: Mr Robert Smith (Croydon, Surrey)
Assistant Referees: Mr Stephen Earl (Mitcham, Surrey) & Mr Roger Wells (Coulsdon, Surrey)

Attendance: 413

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fleet Town 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0

Fleet Town 0 Dulwich Hamlet 0
Ryman Isthmian League Division One South
Saturday 29th November 2008

Football played by the Queensbury Rules, two teams battling through the mud of Calthorpe Park, each endeavour and straining to land just one knock-out blow upon the other but finding it cracking down upon a rock hard chin that would not buckle, would not yield, would not surrender. Oft when one takes the Sunday journals and reads of goalless draw, egality all, the scribe intones that neither side deserved to win but on an afternoon that began soggy, ended sodden, both sides deserved to don the laurels of victory. ‘Twas a shame the referee could not hold aloft the arm of all combatants in triumph and award full points to all.
Fleet brought back long-serving goal machine Eddie Smith to terrorize the Hamlet once, having risen from the bench to strike a goal that killed off a Hamlet revival on Dulwich last trip beyond the Surrey boundaries and into Hampshire but changed nowt else from the XI that had squeaked past Eastbourne in midweek thanks to an own goal. Dulwich too had triumphed in similar narrow yet comprehensive style, coincidently against Sussex foes, albeit on enemy territory. Like his counterpart Andy Sinton, Craig Edwards chose but a sole change to the starting squad with Billy Chattaway returning on the left, whilst Peter Martin on the right dropped to the bench.
December may be just around the corner but Calthorpe Park still wears it autumn dubs, dying leaves fluttering down from the tree lined surrounds of this quaintly rustic setting, a world away from the local high street where lonely Christmas shoppers flittered from half-full shop to market stall. Their festive reveries might have been shattered by the full-bloodied battle going on beyond the arboreal curtain.
Attacking down the treacherous slope, Fleet burst from the blocks, a blue tide flowing onwards but crashing against the breakwater of Hamlet’s defence, the colossi of Marc Cumberbatch, Cedric Ngakam and Shayne Mangodza a red wall before the freer-scoring Fleet offence. There was little to truly trouble either ‘keeper in the opening exchanges, Fleet’s finishing more troubling to perching wildlife than to Jamie Lunan, opposite number Paul Smith protected well by a defence whose redefinition of gamesmanship would draw harrumphs of disapproval from stuffy boardrooms where the G&Ts flow and the retired colonels roost.
Having fended off the blows of there Fleet attack, Dulwich might well have sneaked ahead on 22 minutes when Mark Paterson’s header back in the direction of Paul Smith proved tempting to the chasing Scott Simpson, the Hamlet man almost poaching the ball from the arms of the home custodian as he came to gather. A quick rejoinder from the Fleet as a misplaced crossfield pass proved beyond the reach of Stanley Muguo, Eddie Smith snaffling up the pass and setting his sights on goal. It looked odds on that the Fleet striker would add another to his long tally of goals but he reckoned without the tenacity of Jamie Lunan, who refused to commit himself until his protagonist did, a fine block keeping out Smith effort.
Fleet fingers tightened around the game’s epiglottis. Three minutes after that save, Lunan once more came to the Hamlet’s rescue with a save that gasps of admiration and frustration in equal measures. A fleet-footed move from the Blues, the ball flicked from boot to boot through the Dulwich defence saw Steve Hemmings with the goal at his mercy. Trying to flick the wide of Lunan into the far corner of the net, Hemmings found himself thwarted as the big Dulwich custodian struck out a leg as he dived the opposite way, the ball ricocheting away to safety. Steepling shots from dominant Fleet failed to give the Hamlet custodian the chance to showcase his shot stopping skills as Dulwich crept back into contention as the half waned away. Five minutes before the break Benson Paka’s free kick caused chaos in the area as Cumberbatch nodded a deep delivery back across the six yard box, a tumbling Ngakam’s stabbed effort loping over a prostrate Paul Smith but nodded away from in front of goal by the alpha defender, Mark Paterson. Fleet broke swiftly a booming clearance aimed for Mark Anderson, in the dropping ball in the custody of Chattaway until a wicked bounce took it away from him and left Anderson bearing in on goal until the young defender recovered his ground to make a stunning saving tackle on the brink of the box. Eddie Smith went hunting for the loose ball but went tumbling in an attempt to purloin a penalty when the chance to tuck the ball away was there.
Though the industrious Junior Kaffo rocketed a long range effort wide, half time talk of a pulsating if barren half paled as Simpson was harshly cautioned in the final minute, drawing to shoot as the whistle blew for a skinny offside.
Half time, a pause to catch the breath, the once more onto the breach, my friends, once more. Fleet maintained the upper hand early on, despite now climbing the mountainous slope to Lunan’s goal. An early free kick found the head of Anderson but his header whilst firmly placed inside the back stick lacked the impetus to fluster Lunan. Soon after a towering clearance saw Laurent Hamici impeded within millimetres of the edge of the leaf strewn penalty area. Inside or outside, Mr Cook went for the latter, some supporters demurred. Dulwich did not, an overworked free kick manoeuvre saw Simpson slip the ball to Hamici, a fierce drive whistling wide of the far upright.
As the rain began to stair rod from the heavens and twilight turned to darkest night, the tempo never wavered. The old hands of Fleet might have been expected to enervate, vigour sapped by the gluepot pitch and the constant harrying of Edwards’ young brood. Not nay, thrice. In offence they still threatened, somehow James Field failed to find the trap snatching upon the ball 12 yards out but smacking a low drive across goal and beyond the back stick.
The medieval tonsure of custodian Paul Smith had had the Hamlet troubadours in full, cacophonic, voice but he proved himself back on time when he made a fine save on 55 minutes, denying Hamici as the striker attempted to finish off a sweeping move across the face of the penalty area. However the ‘keeper had no cunning plan, just a prayer and a thank you to the underside of crossbar, when Kaffo came within a whisker of smacking home a header after Simpson’s head had bulleted back a cleared corner into the heart of the six yard box.
The pendulum had now swung firmly in the favour of the visitors. Simpson’s sizzler went wide of the mark, even the defenders were getting in on the act with Mangodza striking a well struck effort from 15 yards out a fraction the wrong side of the post. Fleet players began dropping like flies, Billy Boylan, Paterson inter alia needing treatment as the Hamlet battering continued, but the Blues refused to throw in the towel. Unbelievably the same 22 that started the in the grey afternoon ended in the gloom of evening, though Hemmings vociferous protests at every injustice, every tackle, every contentious decision might have earned reprobation from less tolerant officialdom. In stark contrast, a discordant word from Muguo after a disputed 90th minute throw-in award saw him gain the contest’s third technical caution. Five interminable minutes of stoppage time ensued but goals did not arrive. Fortunately for that would have been stark reward for the effort of all.

Teams:
FTFC:
Paul Smith; Will Salmon; Tom Bird; Billy Boylan; Mark Paterson; Steve Hemmings; James Field; Jamie McClurg; Mark Anderson; Eddie Smith; Nathan Smart
Substitutes not used: Peter Hibbert; Bernard Asante; Ben White; Darren Campbell; Dave Smalley (GK

DHFC: Jamie Lunan; Shayne Mangodza; Billy Chattaway; Benson Paka; Cedric Ngakam; Marc Cumberbatch; Daryl Plummer; Stanley Muguo; Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo; Scott Simpson
Substitutes not used: Peter Martin; Gary Noel; Fasineh Koroma; Mamadou Meite-Sissocko; Sheikh Ceesay (GK)

Officials:
Referee: Mr Daniel Cook (Gosport, Hampshire)
Assistant Referees: Mr Chris Miles (Southampton, Hampshire) & Mr Brian Francis (Southampton, Hampshire)

Attendance: 176

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Burgess Hill Town 0 Dulwich Hamlet 1

Burgess Hill Town 0 Dulwich Hamlet 1
Ryman Isthmian League Division One South
Tuesday 25th November 2008

As the 300 Spartans did at the Battle of Thermopylae, so the Hamlet when ranged against the world, or at least the perceived injustice of three points lost through the supposed carelessness of administrators rather than upon the field of play. But unlike the valiant men of King Leonidas, Craig Edwards’s little band of men emerged triumphant once more and reclaimed those three points after narrow triumph against a Burgess Hill side languishing in the lower reaches of the table. How the Hillians had ploughed such a trough of despair remains a mystery to your scribe for on a strangely balmy evening at a sparsely populated Leylands Park, the hosts dug into their hearts to delve out an attitude and endeavour that might have brought them something other than another defeat against less determined opponents. Early chances spurned had they been converted might have brought an end to their seemingly interminable barren run but served only to inspire a Hamlet side to slim victory, though had the woodwork not played such a role as twelfth man that triumph might have been more pronounced.
With Billy Chattaway serving the second of his one match suspensions, Dulwich supremo Edwards made changes in the rearguard with the newly-returned Shayne Mangodza, skipper Marc Cumberbatch and Gallic colossus Cedric Ngakam building a defensive wall across the back. This freed up Peter Martin for a more prominent attacking role down the flank whilst Scott Simpson was able to unleash his attacking bent upon the defence of the Hillians. In midfield the prosaic belligerence of Junior Kaffo came in for the poetic artistry of Theo Fairweather-Johnson. Despite their demolition at the hands of Fleet at the weekend, Burgess Hill boss Jamie Howell put in trust in his players, with the only change from that rout the return of Matt Piper to the starting line-up in the stead of Reuben French.
If the points deduction was sinking in it certainly showed in the lacklustre opening from the Hamlet with Burgess Hill, keen to shake off the heavy chains of that winless run, displayed an aggression and attacking intention that cheered the hearts of their long-suffering support. Three minutes in and, after excellent footwork, a delightful chip back from the by-line by Richard Hudson found an unguarded Ben Johnson in the middle but he could only dink his header over the crossbar. Moments later Jamie Lunan’s clearance was nodded back in the path of Hudson by Johnson, returning the favour, but despite cantering away from his markers, the Hillian skewed his shot wildly wide of the target bringing a collective groan from the Burgess Hill Moaners’ Step.
Dulwich rejoindered, albeit with a friendly helping boot from their hosts. A free kick swung in deep to the back of the box might have skipped harmlessly wide but Scott Harris decided to help it on his way, a hefty wallop destined to sneak inside the near post until Craig Stoner reacted smartly to push the wayward strike behind though too late to spare the flush from his colleague’s cheeks. Hamlet pressed, forced a corner and amidst the mêlée Simpson stretched out a toe to stab the ball against the crossbar.
Industrious Hillians matched loftier opponents blow for blow, Danny Gainsford a goliath for the Hill to beat away the Lunan Launches when they rained in, errant shooting from the assiduous Hudson and partner in crime Dan Beck to blame for an untroubled net at the opposite net. A scrambled corner saw Gainsford’s powder-puff header easily cleared off the line and though Johnson pounced upon the loose ball, weight of numbers saw his follow-up blocked.
In dying moments of the half, Martin zipped up the right wing curling in a cross from the corner flag that swung across the six yard box to be met by Daryl Plummer, strangely anonymous til now, but tortuously twisting as he met the ball on the volley, only for Nick Fogden to throw his body ‘twixt goal and ball. Like a good foot soldier he repeated the feat as Laurent Hamici snaffled up the loose ball and unleashed a bazooka blast towards Stoner’s goal. For a moment Dulwich were caught cold and having won the ball from Ngakam in dubious circumstances, retribution was exacted by Stanley Muguo to halt the Hillians’ skipper as he threatened to burst through the last line of defence. Muguo’s act earned him a caution but it was not in vain for the danger had been quashed.
Barely had the second half began and Dulwich had cracked home a stunning goal. Quickly quaffed ale saw the travelling troubadours of the Hamlet out in time to witness Simpson motoring through No Man’s Land, Hamici to the left of him, Benson Paka to the right of him. The Hill must have expected him to go to his strike partner but instead he slipped the ball wide right to the galloping Paka, the midfielder turning on the gas to beat his marker on the outside and from an improbable angle threaded the ball through the eye of the needle, lashing the ball a millimetre inside the near post of Stoner as he watched, incredulous.
The night now belonged to the Hamlet. A Paka free kick was met by Cumberbatch, Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians, a looping head lopping the top of the crossbar. Danger signals for the Hillians once more as right wing cross evaded all to be nodded back across the face of the six yard box by Plummer, Harris furiously lashing the ball clear as the Pink hoard bore down on him. Harper skidded a low-drive free kick wide of Lunan’s upright as Burgess Hill searched for an equaliser but once more they had the woodwork to thank for keeping the Hamlet within range, as Hamici broke free of the offside trap, beating a statuesque Stoner with a curled effort, the ball cracking against the crossbar.
A reoccurrence of injury forced Martin from the field and meant a switch in tactics, if not ambition, for the Hamlet. On for the wingback came Gary Noel, relieving Simpson of his striking duties, Simpson dropping back to cover the left back spot. Noel came close to announcing his arrival in clarion style, a slip by Gainsford letting him in on goal but the fast reacting Stoner denied him getting down swiftly to smother a shot.
Burgess Hill played all their jokers, though the openly laugh came at the expense of referee Mr Woodward who rather harshly cautioned Hillians sub Jon Lansdale for tug on Plummer. Still there was time for Hillians’ star performer, Mr Woodie Woodwork to get in on the act once more, this time denying Hamici for a second time, the Hamlet hitman clipping in an amusing free kick, floating over Stoner but bouncing off the top of the crossbar. It seemed as if Hamlet had done enough but then a carelessly conceded free kick gave the hosts one last throw of the dice, the ball blasted in and met with a full-bodied header from Hudson, but so wide of the mark this scribe wondered why the referee was awarding a goal kick rather than corner!
Defeat perhaps unjust for valiant Hill, but with phantoms haunting the Hamlet at every turn, the exorcism of lost points has begun.

Teams:
BHTFC: Craig Stoner; Nick Fogden; Matt Piper; Scott Harris (Ashley Carr 60); Danny Gainsford; Zac Beda (Peter Martin 85); Steve Harper (Capt); Lloyd Cotton; Richard Hudson; Dan Beck; Ben Johnson (Jon Lansdale 74)
Substitutes not used: Rueben French; Colin Hunwick

DHFC: Jamie Lunan; Peter Martin (Gary Noel 64); Shayne Mangodza; Benson Paka; Cedric Ngakam; Marc Cumberbatch; Daryl Plummer; Stanley Muguo; Laurent Hamici; Junior Kaffo; Scott Simpson
Substitutes not used: Theo Fairweather-Johnson; Nick Ogbanufe; Mamadou Meite-Sissocko; Sheikh Ceesay

Goalscoring:
1-0 DHFC Benson Paka 47th minute