Something Happened to Me Yesterday...
Strange days indeed as Dulwich self-imploded, a defence that has proved amongst the most frugal cruelly exposed in its fragility..
Strange days indeed as Dulwich self-imploded, a defence that has proved amongst the most frugal cruelly exposed in its fragility by the bombardments of a Stones’ side hungry for goals to satisfy a packed Gallagher Stadium with kick-off delayed by 10 minutes to allow nearly 2000 fans to pour in.
Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose made a number of changes in the light of Tuesday’s disappointing single goal reverse at the Casuals, naming a third different goalkeeper inside a week as James Tedder took the gloves for his season’s debut. Replacing the luckless Ahmed Deen, a leg fracture the latest ill to inflict him, was Kershaney Samuels who came in at left back whilst the absent Josh Turner made way for Tony Sinclair, newly arrived for Tony Sinclair. Craft replaced culture in the centre of the park as Luke Hickey started in place of the Wizard of Öz, Erhun Öztümer dropping to the bench.
A speedy start for the Hamlet, Maidstone’s spanking brand new 3G-pitch perfect for the Dulwich passing game, as Ellis Green, up against his former teammates, darted into the area, forced wide as he nipped past the dive of Charlie Mitten. The wingman kept his cool, though drilled the ball low back across the face of the six-yard box for Junior Kadi, but a slashed shot went wide of the target.
Yet that chance would count for naught as the Stones bagged a quickie double in an ominous echo of their speedy start in last season encounter ion the less salubrious setting of Sittingbourne. First Dulwich’s defence was parted with surgical precious as Nicky Humphrey’s clearing header on half way was allowed to reach Alex Flisher, the forward tempting Tedder before rifling a low shot across his body and into the far corner of the net. Just three minutes had elapsed.
The Stone’s advantage was extended just six minutes later as Shaun Welford made light work of the Hamlet defence, battering his way through to clip a deft shot past a overexposed Tedder. The signs were as portentous as the lowing dark clouds scuttling across the Kentish skies.
As fragile as Hamlet seemed, at times they seemed to be bossing the game in midfield but where in mattered in front of goal they seemed as impotent as the Sultan’s Eunuch. A brace of glorious chances went untaken. Just past the quarter hour, Green again nipped past Tom Mills, newly risen from his sick bed, leaving his erstwhile teammate floundering. A flashing delivery driven across the face of goal was but inches away from Nyren Clunis, flying off in pursuit, but unable to connect and left tangled in Mitten’s net.
As half time beckoned Clunis, at times dashing and darting, at times disappearing, made an incisive charge into the area only to be sent sprawling by Graeme Andrews’ late lunge. The man in black was in no doubt and the burden fell on Kadi’s shoulders. However, the kick lacked the guile and precision once might have expected; the experienced Charlie Mitten lurched left to palm away a kick almost placed perfectly for the save. The chance for a lifeline had been lost. Barely had the second half began that the Hamlet ship was well and truly scuttled as the Stones’ rattled home a further brace of goals inside the first four minutes of the second 45.
The half time Bovril still warm, the pies not yet digested and Dulwich were caught cold as Mills made it three for the Stones before 60 seconds were out. Overlapping down the left Mills collected a perfect pass into his path and buried a crisp shot that beat Tedder low at the back stick. Matters would deteriorate further just two minutes later as Flisher capitalised on an uncharacteristic defensive error by Kalvin Morath-Gibbs to bag his second of the afternoon. Morath-Gibbs made a hash of an attempted clearance as miscalculated the ball’s bounce, Flisher darting in behind the prostrate defender to ram the ball across the diving body of Tedder, the ball once more nestling in the far bottom left-hand corner of his net.
Damage limitation became the watchword as the Stones, buoyed by the ease of the scoring, the buzz of the crowd, cam hunting for yet more. Ben Davisson almost embarrassed Tedder with a wickedly curling free kick from the edge of the area that had the Hamlet ‘keeper juggling the ball on his line as the home attackers went sniffing for seconds. Yet he was powerful to prevent a fifth as Dulwich were once more cruelly cut open on their right flank. Midfielder Kaiyne Woolery, slipped a ball out on the right wing, made tidy work of avoiding Hamlet’s paperweight tackles before redirecting the attack with a precision pass wide left to Flisher on the far fringes of the pitch. The wide man held off Morath-Gibbs' lukewarm challenge before winging over a pinpoint cross, laid on a plate with all the trimmings as Welford butted home a thunderous header at the back of the box.
Still Hamlet had some 25 minutes to survive further punishment. A 19th Nervous Breakdown on the way? Somehow, Hamlet’s net was not breached again but the gods must have aided them in their travails. Woolery himself headed a fraction wide from a Michael Phillips free kick before a comedy of errors in the penalty area saw Tedder trying to dribble his way out of his own area, Draycott almost embarrassing in as he dived in try and nick the ball off the big ‘keeper’s toes.
Curious game, curious season. A week ago Hamlet were impenetrable, beating the league leaders. In midweek they could have gone top. Today sieve-like in defence, controlling in midfield, ineffectual in attack. Defeat sent Hamlet tumbling to 11th, five points behind Crawley Down newly reclaiming top spot yet just three points ahead of rock bottom Tooting. Most peculiar Mama!
Teams: MUFC: Charlie Mitten; Tommy Osbourne; Tom Mills; Nicky Humphrey; Graeme Andrews; Tim Olorunda; Ben Davisson (Ian Draycott 69); Kaiyne Woolery; Shaun Welford (Ade Olorunda 73); Paul Booth (Michael Phillips 56); Alex Flisher
Subs not used: Ryan Cooper; Deren Ibrahim (GK)
Goals: Alex Flisher 4; 49; Shaun Welford 9; 68; Tom Mills 47
Cautioned: Shaun Welford
Dulwich Hamlet: James Tedder; Kalvin Morath-Gibbs (Calaum Martin 79); Kershaney Samuels; Peter Adeniyi; Lewis Gonsalves; Tony Sinclair; Nyren Clunis; Junior Kadi (Richmond Ayoola 61); Ryan James; Luke Hickie; Ellis Green.
Subs NOT USED: Erhan Öztümer; Dominic Western; Gavin Rose
Cautioned: Kalvin Morath-Gibbs 74; Kershaney Samuels 88; Ryan James 90
Referee: Mr Garry Maskell
Assistants: Mr Mark Scott & Mr Rhys Battye