Dulwich Hamlet 5-2 Braintree Town - We want more nights like this, says 2000 FA Trophy winner Junior Kadi

Tuesday 07th February 2017
Dulwich Hamlet 5 – 2 Braintree Town
Location Champion Hill Stadium, Dog Kennel Hill, Edgar Kail Way, East Dulwich, London SE22 8BD
Kickoff 07/02/2017 19:45

The Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round Replay
Tuesday 7th February 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

DULWICH HAMLET assistant manager Junior Kadi says it feels fantastic to reach the Quarter-Finals of The Buildbase FA Trophy for only the second time in the club’s proud history after humiliating Braintree Town on a special night.

The Hamlet came away from Cressing Road with a goal-less draw at the weekend but Gavin Rose’s heroes finished off the job thanks to an enthralling second half performance to book a home date against another Vanarama National League side in Macclesfield Town on Saturday 25 February.

Dulwich Hamlet are the lowest ranked club left in the competition.  They went into tonight’s replay sitting in ninth-place in the Ryman Premier League table with 47 points from their 30 outings, five points adrift of fifth-placed Tonbridge Angels.

Hakan Hayrettin’s Braintree Town side, like the hosts, went into this game on a four-match unbeaten run, but in the bottom seven of the Vanarama National League with 31 points from 29 games, only a couple of points clear of the relegation zone, occupied by Maidstone United, Guiseley, North Ferriby United and York City.

Dulwich Hamlet grabbed a 28th minute lead through Ashley Carew’s emphatic penalty to score his tenth goal of the season, before Braintree Town deservedly equalised through a header from left-back Jerome Okimo.

Dulwich Hamlet were gifted the lead through Manny Parry’s freak own-goal early in the second half and the goal galvanised Dulwich Hamlet, who romped to a comfortable victory.

Striker Gavin Tomlin drilled in a third, before Braintree Town lost right-back Sean Clohessy to a straight red-card for a professional foul with 14 minutes remaining, before winger turned central midfielder Sanchez Ming scored a contender for goal-of the-season.

Shell-shocked Braintree Town pulled a goal back when Parry headed the ball into the right net, before substitute Jacob Erskine wrapped up the victory with an injury-time tap-in.

“It’s really good,” said Kadi, during the post-match press conference.

“I thought the boys, not just today, Saturday, equipped themselves really, really well, worked hard, stuck to the game plan.

“We rode our luck a little bit in the first half, I thought. They were the more dominant team. We went in at half-time to try to sort a few things out. Second half the boys came out and played to instruction.

“Braintree’s players were physically fitter. You could see the players’ know-how.  They can buy free-kicks.  The general quality delivery going in, you could see they’re a National League outfit.

“I thought the whole first half territorially, I thought they dominated us, some resolute defending, Preston (Edwards) had to be alert a few times. I thought they were a totally dominant team and we were lucky to go in at 1-1 at half-time.”

Braintree Town were by far the better side during the first half, as Dulwich Hamlet came up against a confident higher league opponent.

The Iron created their first opening inside the opening six minutes when Kris Twardek whipped in a cross from the left, the ball was cleared out to central midfielder Harry Lee, who saw his left-footed drive from 30-yards flashed past the foot of the right-hand post.

Former Gillingham defender Clohessy was given plenty of opportunity to get into the final third to whip in some dangerous crosses, the best of which was swept towards goal by then lone striker Lee Barnard, which deflected off his marker Michael Chambers to go behind for a corner.

The game exploded into life when referee Craig Hicks pointed to the spot to award Dulwich Hamlet a penalty.

Green played the ball up to Ibra Sekajja, who cut onto his right foot before playing the ball into Carew, who played the ball inside to Tomlin, who turned his marker Jake Goodman but was fouled just inside the box by the central defender.

Carew stepped up and stroked his right-footed penalty into the right-hand corner of the net to grab his side the lead, the goal timed at 27 minutes and 11 seconds.

“It was good play from Ashley to be fair.  It was very good interplay to originally get the penalty,” said Kadi.

“The ball came in to Ibra Sekajja, into Ashley Carew I believe it was.  I think it was played into Gavin Tomlin, so it was a nice little bit of interplay in and around the box and Gavin pinned the guy in the box, the ref wasn’t very far away but it’s a pen.

“To be fair Ashley strikes a good ball so it’s a very good strike, he’s confident.”

Carew’s corner from the right was met at the near post by defender Matt Drage, who hooked his shot wide while under pressure.

Braintree Town went close to equalising when Hall-Johnson swept in another free-kick, the ball was headed away by Chambers and Harry Lee drove the ball back into the box and Jack Midson swept his shot across the face of goal and just past the foot of the far post.

Dulwich Hamlet called visiting keeper Sam Beasant into action when Drage clipped a long free-kick forward, the ball was knocked down by Sekajja and Carew’s left-footed drive from 25-yards was held by the keeper, low to his left.

Kadi said: “That’s the one that fell to Ashley’s left-foot. Again, it’s a good shot but also again their goalkeeper is a very good goalkeeper and we saw that on Saturday so it takes something to beat him.”

Braintree Town were a threat from set-pieces and they deservedly equalised following their fifth corner in the 38th minute.

Hall-Johnson whipped the ball in from the left towards the near post and Okimo rose to steer his free header into the top left-hand corner from six-yards out.

An honest Kadi said: “I mean, it’s football to be honest with you.  I thought they were the dominant team in the first half so if we went in at 1-0 at half-time we’d have been over the moon but I think they were well worthy the draw at half-time but they should’ve been ahead!”

Braintree Town then changed their formation to 4-3-3 with Twardek and Midson joining Lee Barnard up front, while the Iron’s back line were hurt by Dulwich Hamlet’s pace in the second half.

Twardek used his strength to keep possession from his man before playing the ball to Hall-Johnson, whose drilled a low right-footed angled drive from the right from 30-yards, forcing Preston Edwards to dive to his right to hold onto the shot.

Kadi said: “On Saturday they played 4-4-2.  Today they had an extra body (in midfield). They pressed us really high and we couldn’t handle it first half so we had to get in at half-time, the gaffer made a few re-adjustments so luckily in the second half the boys’ carried it out.”

When asked what was said inside the home dressing room at the break, Kadi replied: “We just said to them, ‘we’re not playing to the standard here. It’s a cup game, it’s a cup game, so you’ve got nothing to lose.’ There’s no point sitting back and trying to defend. That’s not our style.  We try and play and we try to get the ball forward and be bright around the final third and I didn’t think we did that in the first half.  Credit to Braintree because they stopped us doing that.”

Dulwich Hamlet kicked off for the second half and they almost went down to a strike after only 21 seconds.

Midson sprayed the ball out wide to an unmarked Twardek on the right and his low right-footed drive from 25-yards forced Edwards to get down swiftly low to his right to push the ball towards safety.

“It was a bit of a sloppy start and to be fair Preston has made great saves at the right time,” said Kadi.

“I mean forget tonight, even on Saturday, Preston made two great one-on-one saves. People tend to forget that because we dominated the latter stages and again that was a crucial save at a crucial time.”

Sekajja fed the ball to Carew, who bent his speculative shot from distance around the far post – before Dulwich Hamlet took the lead with a freak goal in the 50th minute.

Braintree central defender Jake Goodman played the ball back to Beasant, Sekajja pressed him and the keeper smashed his clearance up field. The ball cannoned off Parry’s back some 25-yards from goal and looped over the keeper and dropped into the empty goal.

Kadi said: “To be fair, in front of goal all season, it’s a combination of poor finishing and maybe a bit of bad luck but as they say in the course of the season you get a bit of luck and to be fair that was a freak goal and we’ll take it, an absolute bit of luck and it drove us on absolutely.”

Parry almost made amends when he met Twardek’s deep cross from the right with a free header, which he steered straight at Edwards.

But Parry’s misfortune seemed to galvanise Dulwich Hamlet from the 55th minute.

Green played the ball down the line to release Sekajja, who cut into the box and cut the ball onto his right-foot and his deflected drive stung Beasant’s fingers at the near post.

Free-kick specialist Carew unleashing a dipping free-kick from the left-wing which Beasant did well to hold onto.

Harry Lee swung in Braintree’s seventh corner from the right and Edwards smothered the ball on the line as Midson tried to stab the ball over the line from close range at the far post.

But Dulwich Hamlet struck the near post in the 57th minute.

Carew cut into the box from the right and cut the ball across the penalty area for Green to drill a first time left-footed shot against the base of the near post from 12-yards.

Kadi added: “Greenie’s done fabulous to get to the far post and once you get into that position he gets that clean contact and you’re hoping that goes the other side of the post but hey, that’s football. We can’t complain.  The one that hit Manny Parry is a freak goal!”

Carew’s second free-kick saw him bend his right-footed free-kick from 35-yards around the three-man wall, the ball bouncing into Beasant’s hands for a comfortable save.

Dulwich Hamlet smashed in a third goal in the 61st minute on the counter-attack.

Braintree Town were pressing for an equaliser but holding midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo cleared a volley up field, which sent Tomlin through on goal. He brushed past the last defender, raced into the box before drilling a low shot across the keeper, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner.

Kadi said: “To be fair to Braintree, I think they were throwing caution to the wind.  We’ve gone 2-1 up and they left two-v-two and Ibrahim played a nice little pass down the side and young Gavin’s ran away from a defender and had his composure and it’s a great finish.”

“The thoughts at 3-1 were a lot different from when I played. I wanted to score four and five but now I’m standing on the other side, I’m thinking right, just stay tight for the next 5-10 minutes and just see the game out.”

Hall-Johnson floated in a free-kick which was allowed to bounce inside the Dulwich box and Parry poked his shot towards the bottom left-hand corner, only for Edwards to smother the ball low to his right.

Edwards plucked Clohessy’s cross out of the air before launching a big kick down the pitch.  Tomlin sped past Chez Isaac and hit an angled drive which forced Beasant to make a low save to his right.

“It’s going to happen because it’s like a basketball game now because they’re at the other end and if you get a block on, if you can win the ball back, you could spring a counter-attack,” added Kadi.

Braintree Town’s back four hated pace and 30-year-old Clohessy was forced to pull back Tomlin as he raced past him and becausd the offence took place outside the area, he was sent-off.

Carew’s resulting free-kick from the right was saved by Beasant.

Kadi added: “Gavin’s out-foxed him a little bit, the ball spun. He got the other side and Gavin drove in.  You never want to see a player sent-off but I think the ref had no option to be fair to him.”

Dulwich Hamlet’s fourth goal arrived in the 78th minute will go down as contender for goal-of-the-season.

Ming collected the ball in the middle of the park, played the ball out to his left to Carew, who played a low pass inside back to Ming.

Ming ignored the appeals from Rose and drilled a stunning right-footed screaming drive into the top left-hand corner from 35-yards and Rose was spotted punching the air in delight as the stadium erupted.

Kadi revealed: “As Sanchez was about to drive, the gaffer said to him ‘don’t shoot!’ Gavin was shouting ‘don’t shoot,” so I was thinking why is he shooting from there? What do we know?

“Great strike. I thought he was very good all night Sanchez. He worked really hard, played in numerous positions as well. He’s gone right wing-back into central midfield. He put in a good shift.”

It was inevitable that Braintree’s second goal in the 80th minute would come from another set-piece.

This time it was substitute Alex Henshall that swept in a free-kick from the right towards the far post and Parry headed into the corner from eight-yards.

“On Saturday and tonight the boys had to defend a lot of balls into the box from set-piece situations. If I had a criticism, we gave away too many silly free-kicks, needless free-kicks but again like a National League side some of their players are cute, they bought those free-kicks. They were a massive, massive threat from set-pieces, their delivery was great, they’ve got a good size and power going into the box.”

Dulwich Hamlet fans were singing Wembley songs when Erskine wrapped it up with a fifth goal – three minutes and 47 seconds into injury time.

The substitute started the move, playing the ball to ASPIRE Academy prospect Mohamed Mohamed and Sekajja played the ball to Ming, who dinked his shot across the face of goal and goal-poacher Erskine tapped the ball over the line from close range.

“The original ball that came out to Jacob done really well to get the ball back into play and keep it alive.  Played the ball into Mohamed Mohamed and then young Mo passed it out to Sanchez, who worked the ball in again and all in all it was a very good move and Jacob started the attack and finished it as well.”

Kadi was delighted with striker Mohamed’s eight minute cameo run-out against higher league opposition.

He said: “Really pleasing to see a young Academy boy, product come on young Mohamed Mohamed. He’s only a first year 16-17 year-old. He’s got a big future. He's been training with the first team now for a few weeks, done really well in the Academy team. For me personally, it was great to see him on there. He didn’t look fazed, probably gave the ball away once and fitted in really, really well.”

Dulwich Hamlet play four games before they host ninth-placed Macclesfield Town in the Quarter-Finals of The Buildbase FA Trophy, the first time the club have reached that stage since 1980.

Kadi is now dreaming about making an emotional return to Wembley Stadium – but Kadi insists their focus is now on Saturday’s trip to league leaders Bognor Regis Town, who are now 17 points clear of The Hamlet.

“Obviously we’re in the last eight of the competition, which is fantastic for the football club, it’s unbelievable,” said Kadi, who helped Kingstonian beat Kettering Town 3-2 in The FA Trophy Final in 2000.

“We’ve got another great day down here against Macclesfield.

“Now we’ve got to focus on, we’ll let the boys enjoy it tonight and then we’ll get back in on Thursday (night) and work hard.

“We’ve got a massive, massive game on Saturday away to Bognor, who I think have been the stand out team in the league so far this year so we’ve got an even bigger game to be honest with you.”

Barrow, Boreham Wood, Brackley Town, Dulwich Hamlet, Lincoln City, Macclesfield Town, York City and Tranmere Rovers or Chelmsford City are now seriously dreaming about making it through to the Wembley Final.

“I played at the old place, it’s a special day, it’s just unbelievable,” recalled Kadi.

“I was a young lad then. For the first 10 minutes you’re just thinking to yourself ‘what’s going on? Where am I?’  You see so many icons on the tv and you’re there now and you just think to yourself ‘wow!’  - but it’s just a game of football!

“People are getting worried now. The boys are getting close. I can’t throw that banter in the dressing room no more as they know I’ve won it!

“It was like a blur because you’re playing the game and yes you are playing a game of football and you look up at the stand and you think ‘wow!’.  You just have to blank it out and just savour the moment. It’s a moment that I’ll live with me for the rest of my life. It’s a great achievement, it’s just a special, special place.”

When asked about returning to the new Wembley Stadium as an assistant manager, Kadi replied: “That would be a great double wouldn’t it? It would be a great double!”

And finally, when asked what tonight meant to him, Kadi replied: “It’s a great night. We’ve had a lot of good times since we’ve been here. We’ve had a lot of good times. We’ve been spoilt to be honest with you. We’ve had a lot of great nights. It’s up there, it’s really up there.

“We’ve got Bognor, we’ve got Needham Market, we’ve got massive, massive games so we’ve got to dust ourselves down, enjoy it, dust ourselves down. We want more nights like this at the football club. The supporters are great, it’s amazing.”

Dulwich Hamlet: Preston Edwards, Marc Weatherstone (Jacob Erskine 82), Nathan Green, Ibrahim Kargbo, Matt Drage, Michael Chambers, Sanchez Ming, Kenny Beaney (Quade Taylor 73), Gavin Tomlin (Mohamed Mohamed 82), Ashley Carew, Ibra Sekajja.
Subs: Kevin James, Henry Awokere

Goals: Ashley Carew 28 (penalty), Manny Parry 50 (own goal), Gavin Tomlin 61, Sanchez Ming 78, Jacob Erskine 90

Booked: Kenny Beaney 51, Nathan Green 64

Braintree Town: Sam Beasant, Sean Clohessy, Jerome Okimo, Harry Lee (Alex Henshall 71), Jake Goodman, Manny Parry, Kris Twardek (Claudio Dias 63), Chez Isaac, Lee Barnard, Reece Hall-Johnson, Jack Midson.
Subs: Ian Gayle, Sam Corne, Kyron Farrell

Goals: Jerome Okimo 38, Manny Parry 80

Booked: Jake Goodman 87

Sent Off: Sean Clohessy 76

Attendance: 860
Referee: Mr Craig Hicks (Sutton, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Paul Lister (Chertsey, Surrey) & Mr Scott Williams (Hackney, London E8)
Fourth Official: Mr Peter Cruise (Rochester)

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