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Match Report

Dulwich Hamlet
4
Hendon
2
Date:
Saturday 07 November 2015
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
1423
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon slipped to a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions against league leaders Dulwich Hamlet in front of a bumper crowd in excess of 1400 at Champion Hill on Saturday afternoon. Whilst the result was no less disappointing than the previous three, the manner and performance shown by the Greens was much improved and left the Hendon faithful in rather better spirits than of late.

Following the meek exit in the FA Trophy six days previously, Gary McCann shuffled his pack. There was a debut for right-back Omar Vassell, whilst Dean Cracknell returned to the starting line-up as did Dave Diedhiou. Sam Flegg, Andre Da Costa and Goldy Capela were the three men replaced, each dropping to the bench.

Persistent rain had made the lush Champion Hill turf rather slick underfoot, however there was never any doubt of the game being in jeopardy. Indeed, it played very well throughout the full ninety minutes and certainly suited Dulwich's enterprising and expansive style of play.

There was a sense of deja-vu in the air when Dulwich took the lead in the fourth minute, just as Sudbury had in the FA Trophy tie. A cross into the penalty area was met by the head of Ethan Pinnock, and although his header was on target, it looked like a regulation catch for Joe Wright. However, somehow the ball squirmed through the goalkeeper's grasp and into the corner of the net.

Going a goal behind this season has so often been the kiss of death for Hendon's hopes of getting anything out of a game, however on this occasion they dug-in and slowly began to get themselves into the match.

The equaliser, when it came on 18 minutes, still came as a bit of a surprise, however, yet it was the first of three outstanding finishes the crowd were treated to on an afternoon of excellent entertainment. A ball into the Dulwich box from the Hendon right was not effectively cleared, and it fell for Russell Short to stroke sublimely into the far bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the Greens began to give as good as they got. Wright redeemed himself with an excellent low save from a Dan Sweeney effort before Aaron Morgan was denied by an equally good save from Phil Wilson, using his legs to block the Hendon man's shot.

Things were made infinitely harder for the visitors just past the half hour mark when Luke Tingey became the latest Hendon player to be on the wrong end of a dismissal. The challenge on Rhys Murrell-Williamson five yards inside the Hendon half was certainly untidy and perhaps a little high. It didn't appear to be reckless, however the referee deemed there to be enough excessive force in the challenge to warrant an immediate red card.

Rather than feel sorry for themselves and cave-in, the Greens kept their heads up and continued to battle hard. In spite of this, they found themselves behind at the break, thanks to a finish that certainly equalled, and probably bettered Short's. Nyren Clunis found himself 20 yards from goal in a fairly central position and as a Hendon shirt closed him down, he wrapped his right foot around the ball and sent a peach of a finish beyond the full-stretch dive of Wright into the corner of the net.

Any hopes Hendon had of getting back into the game appeared to have been snuffed out ten minutes after half-time. Dave Diedhiou, filling in at centre-back alongside Mark Kirby went to ground on the edge of the six-yard box and took a Dulwich forward with him, whilst the ball remained unplayed. The penalty was duly awarded, Diedhiou booked and Ashley Carew did the rest sending Wright the wrong way with an excellent penalty.

The remainder of the second half was pretty open stuff with chances at both ends - the majority falling to Dulwich - yet Hendon proving dangerous on the counter attack. Both goalkeepers were called upon to make two or three excellent interventions each - Joe Wright shrugging off the error fo Dulwich's first goal and producing possibly his most assured performance in a Hendon shirt. Then, with thirteen minutes remaining, the Greens were thrown an unlikely lifeline.

Leon Smith found some room inside the Dulwich penalty area and squeezed the ball past Phil Wilson. However, rather than any green-shirted player being able to pounce on the loose ball as it bounced a couple of yards from the goalline, Dulwich centre half Matt Drage passed up a couple of opportunities to send the ball into row-Z, and ended up shinning the ball over the line with his third or fourth touch.

Shortly after, another excellent Short strike was superbly touched over the top by Wilson, and Diedhiou was in the right place to kick another Pinnock header off of the Hendon goalline. Moments later, he made an even better intervention to deny substitute Damien Scannell a strike at goal when he appeared to be clean through on goal with a superb challenge before the coup-de-grace was administered in fitting style by another Dulwich substitute.

Neat interchange down the Dulwich right involving Danny Waldren and Albert Jarrett saw the ball worked inside and laid off to Dean McDonald. Using a Hendon defender as a shield, McDonald curled a stunning finish around the green shirted body and beyond the unsighted Wright into the back of the net.

It was a fitting end to a superb Dulwich attacking performance, yet there was still time for Hendon to have closed the gap in stoppage time. Smith found himself clear on goal, yet was denied by Wilson, who did well to stand up and not commit himself and seconds later, Kirby rose to head at goal but saw his effort cleared off the Dulwich line.

It would be no surprise on this evidence if Dulwich were to end the season as champions based on this evidence, for the Greens, there were some definite positives to take away from an improved showing ahead of next week's big game with Needham Market.

Report by John Rogers

Hendon

1
Joe Wright
2
Omar Vassell
3
Oliver Sprague
4
Luke Tingey
5
Mark Kirby
6
Dave Diedhiou
7
Dean Cracknell
8
Russell Short
9
Aaron Morgan
10
Kezie Ibe
11
Sam Murphy
12
Goldy Capela
13
Andre Da Costa
14
Leon Smith
15
Sam Flegg
16
Melvin Minter

Match Events

Ethan Pinnock
4''
18''
Russell Short
31''
Luke Tingey
Nyren Clunis
36''
Ashley Carew
56''
Dean McDonald replaced Osei Sankofa
60''
Damian Scannell replaced Calum Willock
61''
66''
Leon Smith replaced Kezie Ibe
66''
Goldy Capela replaced Dean Cracknell
Albert Jarrett replaced Dan Sweeney
75''
77''
Joe Wright
83''
Andre Da Costa replaced Omar Vassell
Dean McDonald
85''

Dulwich Hamlet

1
Phil WIlson
2
Osei Sankofa
3
Jordan Brown
4
Danny Waldren
5
Matt Drage
6
Ethan Pinnock
7
Nyren Clunis
8
Ashley Carew
9
Calum Willock
10
Dan Sweeney
11
Rhys Murrell-Williamson
12
Dean McDonald
14
Albert Jarrett
15
Damian Scannell
16
Jack Dixon
17
Mitchell Nelson