An 83rd minute winner from Liv Bennett gave Dulwich Hamlet Women’s team their first three points on the opening day of the 2019/20 London & South East Regional Women's season.
Dulwich began the game as they meant to go on, keeping the ball and working both the flanks. Wingers Saskia Philips and Michaella Williams were both lively and caused problems for Aylesford early on.
It took until the 44th minute for Dulwich to break the deadlock. Zoe Elmore launched in a freekick, which ricocheted off the bar and fell kindly to Liz Wicks to tap in the rebound. It was a cruel twist of bad fortune for Zara Chapman in the Aylesford goal, who had made some key saves in the first half to keep her side in the game.
After the break, substitutes Liv Bennett and Martha Casanovas added some extra energy down the wings, while Ella Wales Bonner also kept hold of the ball well in midfield after coming off the bench.
However, Aylesford got back in the game midway through the second half from a direct freekick which gave them the equaliser. It had been one of their first efforts on goal.
The crowd of 236 in attendance at Champion Hill rallied behind the Dulwich team and willed them towards victory. With less than ten minutes to go, Bennett burst through on goal and slipped it past the onrushing Aylesford goalkeeper.
The jubilant celebrations, both after the goal and at the final whistle, marked a sigh of relief for Dulwich as they secured their first win of the new season. The result had been well deserved.
Dulwich Hamlet are now joint top of the league with QPR, who defeated Eastbourne Town 2-0 on opening day. Dulwich travel to Eastbourne themselves next Sunday for a 2:00pm kick off.
The next home match is on Sunday 8th September to QPR in the League Cup. A full fixture list can be found here.