Dulwich Hamlet 1-2 Hampton & Richmond Borough - You either pack up and go or you dust yourself down have a nice break and go again, try to come back stronger, says Junior Kadi

Friday 21st July 2017
Dulwich Hamlet 1 – 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough
Location Champion Hill Stadium, Dog Kennel Hill, Edgar Kail Way, East Dulwich, London SE22 8BD
Kickoff 21/07/2017 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Friday 21st July 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

DULWICH HAMLET assistant manager Junior Kadi says his players will come back stronger after suffering play-off heartbreak for the past three seasons.

Margate, East Thurrock United and Bognor Regis Town have celebrated promotion at the expense of Gavin Rose’s side and here against Hampton & Richmond Borough it appears that losing in the Play-Off Final at Bognor Regis Town has not got out of their system, yet.

Alan Dowson guided Hampton & Richmond Borough to a seventh-place finish in the Vanarama National League South table last season and were accepted in the play-offs but lost out to promoted runners-up Ebbsfleet United in the semi-finals.

The Beavers were the better side for large parts of the first half tonight and deserved their lead through former Welling United striker Harry Crawford, 25, who impressed in the middle of the park.

Dulwich Hamlet goalkeeper Preston Edwards kept his side in the game with a string of good saves before left wing-back Nathan Green drilled in an equaliser just before half-time.

Hampton & Richmond Borough made 10 changes with 57 minutes on the clock, with only central defender and captain Michael Kamara completing the entire 90 minutes for the visitors, who won it through former Dulwich Hamlet winger Brendan Kiernan.

“It was a good, competitive game, Hampton are a good side, done really well last year so credit to Dowse and his management team to make the play-offs last year up in a new league, you could see that they are a very strong team,” said Kadi.

Edwards came out to smother at Ryan Moss’s feet early on before making a block at his near post after left-winger Chinua Cole cut into the penalty area and breezed past Sanchez Ming in the Dulwich Hamlet box.

Hampton & Richmond deserved their lead when it arrived with 14 minutes and 3 seconds on the cock.

Left-back Sam Gallagher floated in a free-kick with his left-foot from the right wing and Crawford’s shot at the near post was blocked, but he gleefully rifled his right-footed rebound into the roof of the net from six-yards.

“From their perspective that would be a good goal but from our perspective, I thought we could deal with the initial cross that came in,” said Kadi.

“It wasn’t a great ball. As it came back out, fair play to the guy, he’s finished it off well but I thought we could’ve dealt with the first ball.”

Marc Weatherstone, who plays on the right-hand side of a Dulwich Hamlet three-man defence, skied his free header after meeting Ashley Carew’s corner from the right, before Hampton & Richmond Borough missed a glorious chance when striker Adam Marriott placed his shot inches past the foot of the left-hand post with only Edwards to beat in the 19th minute.

Hampton & Richmond Borough were a good side and they created more chances to increase their lead – but Edwards made some vital saves.

Crawford played the ball into Trey Williams’ feet and the former Fisher and Welling United winger set-up Cole, whose right-footed drive from 14-yards was blocked by Edwards outstretched feet.

Kadi said: “I thought Preston made some good saves, credit Hampton. I thought they did do really well in the first half.  They came flying out of the blocks and we took a bit of time to adjust to the game, to get to grips with it.  Thankfully for Preston, he made three or four very good saves.

“He was good tonight, he was busy in the first half. He stood up well and made himself big on occasions.”

Crawford then drove into the Dulwich Hamlet box and Edwards came off his line to smother his dinked shot.

Dulwich Hamlet then showed glimpses of their usual self when Green cut into the penalty area and drove his shot across keeper Sam Howes, only for the ball to bounce off the far post and struck Gallagher, who was relieved to see the ball bounce off him and narrowly go behind for a corner.

“We thought he done everything right, just dragged his shot a little bit but yes it was unfortunate but it was a good bit of play,” added Kadi.

Edwards gifted Hampton & Richmond Borough a chance when his poor clearance went straight to Marriott, who laid the ball on the outside to Williams, but the keeper redeemed himself by making a fine save to his left.

Dulwich Hamlet grabbed an equaliser with a trademark goal with 39 minutes and 17 seconds on the clock.

Ming skipped past Crawford and played the ball on the overlap to Nyren Clunis, who whipped in a deep cross towards the far post and Green kept composed to drill his left-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

“I thought at that stage of the game we were getting into it a little better and Nathan got on the end of it,” added Kadi.

“I thought Hampton, they were the better side in the first half, they  played well and they didn’t really give us time to settle.  We probably didn’t get close enough to them and I thought they were better in the first half.”

Dulwich Hamlet created the final chance of the half when Clunis played a short corner to Carew, who swept the ball out to central midfielder Ralph Kottoy Yapande, who was given time and space to hit his right-footed drive from 30-yards, which bounced once into the hands of the West Ham United developed 19-year-old keeper.

“Ralph’s been training, he’s started pre-season, he’s a very, very talented boy,” Kadi said of the Central African Republic born 25-year-old central midfielder.

“He’s a very good player so we’ll see what we get out of him. He played in Portugal, we’ve found him just through a contact. He was over here so he wants to play, so we’ll give him a go.

“He was very good against Crawley (a 4-2 defeat on Tuesday night). I thought tonight, he was ok, he was ok.  He's a fast guy and it’s very difficult as well coming in to a new environment. He’s got to adjust playing in a new country but he is a good player, got good ability, so we’ll see.”

On his thoughts at half-time, Kadi replied: “Oh, it’s just pre-season, just about your leg-work and getting players fit and understanding what we want and things like that. There wasn’t big, big things going on. It is literally fitness levels.”

When asked about Rickie Hayles’ 24th minute withdrawal through injury, Kadi didn’t give too much away.

“It’s precaution, we can’t really say. He’ll be assessed and see how we go from there.”

Hamlet keeper Edwards pulled off yet another brilliant save to frustrate striker Ryan Moss inside the opening four minutes.

Gallagher whipped in a great cross from the left and Moss powered his free header towards the top corner, only for Edwards to beat the shot away high to his right.

“It was a good ball. Moss has got ahead of one of the defenders, I can’t remember who, Preston’s point blank so it was probably one of those, he didn’t know so much about. Again, he’s there and made himself big,” said Kadi.

Tom Jelley’s deep free-kick was knocked back across goal by Kamara but Marriott sent his over-head kick past the left-hand post.

Carew floated in a corner from the right which was met at the far post by a rising Weatherstone, who could only steer his header past the left-hand post, as the home side created very little.

After Hampton & Richmond Borough made wholesale changes, they created another glorious chance to score in the 71st minute.

Taurean Roberts showed some good skill and pace down the left before delivering a great cross towards the far post but an unmarked Max Kretzscumar glanced his header just past the near post.

Kamara was a resilient customer at the heart of the Beavers’ defence but two Dulwich Hamlet substitute strikers linked up well.

Gavin Tomlin played the ball in from the right and Dumebi Dumaka’s shot on the turn deflected into Billy Bishop’s hands for a comfortable save.

Kadi said: “We’re sharing minutes now, everyone’s playing the right amount of time, getting their fitness levels up so tonight was Gavin’s and DD’s time to sit down.  They both had 45 minutes last night at Cray Valley (a 3-2 defeat), so they’re getting their game time as well.”

Hampton & Richmond Borough deservedly wrapped up their victory to maintain their unbeaten run in three pre-season games, the winning goal coming with 33 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

Duncan Culley, who received the ball at his feet in a central position, rolled the ball down the bottom left-hand channel to Roberts, who cut the ball back for Kiernan to simply tap the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards at the near post.

“Again, they’re a good side, they’ve got some good players on the pitch towards the end of the game. We know Brendan, he was with us in our Academy side, he's a good player,” added Kadi.

Kiernan turned provider when he rolled the ball inside to Culley, who drilled his right-footed drive flashing past the left-hand post from 30-yards.

Out-of-sorts Dulwich Hamlet created a chance with the last kick of the game but Tomlin’s right-footed free-kick from 30-yards dipped over the crossbar.

Dulwich Hamlet are next in action when Premier League Crystal Palace visit Champion Hill Stadium next Tuesday night.

“It’s a great occasion. It’s good that Palace always send a team down and we have a decent relationship with them so it should be a good game, a good crowd and a good game for the fans,” said Kadi.

“It’s just about people getting the same amount of minutes at this stage of the season, not overdo it or not playing enough minutes so to speak. It’s not a problem, it’s pre-season.

“Are results important? No! Of course not! The most important thing now is just your fitness levels and trying to avoid injuries and players just getting back up to speed tactically and physically.”

Once they are back up to speed, Dulwich Hamlet will be challenging big-spenders Billericay Town for the Bostik Premier Division title this season.

“Everyone can win the league at the start of the season and everybody wants to win the league and get in the play-offs,” said Kadi, who starts the season at home to Staines Town on Saturday 12 August 2017.

“The first month we look to have some tough fixtures on paper but every game is going to be tough really. At the end of the day we just try to go hit that as prepared as possible and build our momentum.

“I think everyone will have their own expectations this year.  Billericay, there’s Margate, Leatherhead have made some good singings, Staines, there’s loads of good teams in this league so I don’t think it will be a given for everybody.

“It’s a long campaign. I know it’s an old cliché but you do have to take every game as it comes, try to accumulate as many points as we can and at the end of the year see where you are at and hopefully build on from there.

“Our aspirations? We’re always there and there abouts so again we’ll look to do that and see where it takes us.”

When asked to reflect on the club’s play-off misery, Kadi said: “You’ve got a league with a load of teams in it and only two teams can go up. We’ve fallen short a few times now over the last few years but then listen we’re here, we’ll dust ourselves down and keep going.

“It’s football. It’s heartbreaking because you’ve worked so hard during the season and the ultimate goal is promotion so we had to give credit to Bognor Regis. They’ve had a good management team, a good club, on the day they won the game.

“You either pack up and go or you dust yourselves down, have a nice break and go again, try to come back stronger.”

Dulwich Hamlet: Preston Edwards, Marc Weatherstone, Nathan Green, Ibrahim Kargbo (Gustavo Ferraz 76), Rickie Hayles (Michael Chambers 24), Anthony Acheampong (Quade Taylor 76), Sanchez Ming (Caio Guimares 63), Ralph Kottoy Yapande, Jeff Goulding (Gavin Tomlin 63), Ashley Carew (Dumebi Dumaka 63), Nyren Clunis.
Sub: Jamie Mascoll

Goal: Nathan Green 40

Hampton & Richmond Borough: Sam Howes (Billy Bishop 57), Tom Jelley (Nathan Collier 57), Sam Gallagher (Josh Casey 57), Emiliano Hysi (Sean McAuley 57), Charlie Wassmer (Claudiu Vilcu 57), Michael Kamara, Trey Williams (Brendan Kiernan 57), Harry Crawford (Max Kretzschmar 57), Ryan Moss (Duncan Culley 57), Adam Marriott (Christian Jolley 57), Chinua Cole (Taurean Roberts 57).

Goals: Harry Crawford 15, Brendan Kiernan 79

Attendance: 247
Referee: Mr Ian Bentley (West Wickham)
Assistants: Mr Rob Columb (Rochester) & Mr Valentine Anekwe (Bromley)

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