Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 Margate - We can be a threat in this league, says Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose

Tuesday 02nd September 2014
Ryman Premier League
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

DULWICH HAMLET manager Gavin Rose says his players’ done the club proud after stunning league leaders Margate to their first defeat of the season.

Margate arrived in south-east London sitting proudly at the top of the Ryman Premier League table unbeaten in seven games with 19 points, six points clear of their hosts in sixth-place.

The Hamlet went into the game with a 100% record at home after three games, while Margate arrived at Champion Hill with a 100% record on their travels.

And Margate appeared to be heading towards a comfortable victory as they dominated the first half, playing an attractive brand of slick passing football.

Margate deservedly opened the scoring through Lewis Taylor’s stunning strike but the midfielder was forced off through a fractured cheekbone just seconds before half-time and when central defender Brett Johnson failed to re-appear through a hamstring injury, Dulwich Hamlet edged themselves back into the game.

Dulwich Hamlet equalised through makeshift left-back Lewis Gonsalves and finished the game on the front foot with visiting keeper Nikki Bull making three brilliant saves.

But super-sub Laurent Hamici drilled home a dramatic winner with the last kick of the game to send the home fans in the crowd of 811 wild.

“Really, really happy with the boys, worked hard and done the club proud today I thought,” said Rose afterwards.

“We played some good football, competed against a very, very good team, so really happy.

“There was a lot of good football to appreciate from both teams. I thought it was a good advert for the League and a very good advert for non-league football.”

Margate’s full-time manager Terry Brown headed back home to Wokingham after the game with plenty to think about.

He said: “I thought first of all a fantastic game. Full credit to Dulwich, who I thought were magnificent second half.

“I thought we battered them first half and I thought they came out and threw the kitchen sink at us in the second half and it was proper end-to-end. Either side could have won it.

“I’m so very disappointed with our finishing today. If our finishing had been as good as our first half approach play, we would have put that to bed at half-time.

“It’s frustrating for me because I know the quality that we’ve got there.”

Dominant Margate created the first chance of this brilliant game inside the opening five minutes.

Charlie Wassmer played a diagonal pass out to Anthony Riviere, who got forward from right-back many occasions during the first half, and he played the ball inside to Taylor, who cut the ball back to Riviere, whose right-footed drive from 20-yards was caught by the returning Phil Wilson.

Dulwich Hamlet’s first chance arrived inside nine minutes.

Midfielder Ashley Carew, winger Jordan Hibbert and striker Nigel Neita linked up well before Hibbert drilled his right-footed shot just past the post from 25-yards.

But Margate stamped their authority on the game and played a slick passing game on the deck and Dulwich Hamlet were being outplayed at their own game.

Taylor drilled a speculative right-footed shot towards goal from 35-yards, which struck striker Zac Attwood on the heel and a scrambling Wilson was relieved to see the ball trickle just past the foot of the post.

But Wilson could do nothing about Taylor’s second goal of the season inside fifteen minutes.

Margate left-back Jack Bennett clipped a diagonal pass out to striker Ryan Moss down the right and he cut the ball back for Taylor to crack a first time right-footed drive from 25-yards, which screamed into the top near corner, high over Wilson’s left shoulder.

“I thought Jack Bennett had a fantastic game today,” said Brown.

“He’s come in for Sam Rents, who was playing brilliant before that so there’s an example of someone coming in and taking that opportunity and I want more of the others to do that.

“I’m disappointed with our, not our approach play, I thought some of our approach play was magnificent, but disappointed with our finishing. It wasn’t good enough today.”

Rose added: “It wasn’t a surprise. Lewis is good in those areas coming onto the ball late as well. It was a very good finish.

“We took a long time to understand our shape – a slight change today – and it took us a little bit of time and to be honest with you if they capitalised on a few of their chances at the start of the game the game could have been over within half-an-hour.

“But luckily we hung in there and once we understood our shape I thought we made it more competitive and grew into the game.”

Margate – whose diamond formation seemed to be confusing Dulwich Hamlet - thoroughly deserved their lead and they squandered some chances to kill the game off.

Midfielder Kane Wills was given time and space to drill a right-footed drive sailing harmlessly over the bar from 25-yards.

Moss, looking to add to his seven-goal tally, dragged a shot across goal which was put behind for a corner, but Margate should have doubled their lead from the resulting corner.

Wills swung in the corner from the left towards the far post where Attwood glanced his header wide of the far post, leaving his head in his hands and his manager frustrated.

Brown said: “Blimey! How many chances did we have where we had open goals on headers? One or two in the first half, definitely two in the second half where blimey my granny could have stuck her head on them and just nod it in!  The goalkeeper’s on his backside for one of them. It was just a blur. We seemed to miss chance after chance!”

Taylor, who was the driving force in Margate’s midfield, unleashed a right-footed angled drive from 30-yards, which forced Wilson to get his frame down to his right to push the ball away to safety.

Dulwich Hamlet midfielder Kevin James played a pass inside to Xavier Vidal, but the 19-year-old sent his right-footed drive sailing harmlessly over from 30-yards.

But The Hamlet were to be denied an equaliser just before half-time after they edged themselves back into the game.

Kershaney Samuels played the ball to Carew, who played the ball inside to Vidal, who powered his right-footed drive towards goal from 25-yards, which forced Bull to parry away.

Rose said: “He had one blocked and then one saved well by the goalkeeper. He started to be a good influence on the game, as it went on.”

Margate were deserved leaders at the break.

Rose said: “I thought we showed signs towards the end of the first half that we could make an impression in the game so I wasn’t to downbeat.

“We just talked about areas where we could hurt them, areas where we thought they was equally as weak.  We concentrated on the positive things really.”

Brown, meanwhile, admitted he had the injuries to Taylor and Johnson to contend with during the interval.

“We’ve got strength-in-depth and I was disappointed that when we had to make the changes we’ve lost Lewis Taylor, who I thought was our best player in the first half and scored a wonderful goal.  When we lost him we lost a bit of the drive in midfield and we lost Brett Johnson at half-time and I felt that we lost that cohesion at the back there.

“Lewis Taylor believes he may well of fractured his cheekbone again, which will be a massive disaster because he’s that drive in midfield. He scores goals and we will miss that.

“Brett Johnson has got a hamstring pull, which was very, very tight and if he would have played in the second half we’d lose him for six weeks. Now where as we could lose him for a week or ten days.

“We just lost Lewis Taylor and we’ve just lost Brett Johnson and it was Brett we were going to start the second half with so I think that disruption threw us a little.

“I’m not in a position as manager of Margate to make excuses for anything because we had a good enough eleven at the start of the second half and those people that get the opportunity to pull on an orange shirt or a blue hooped shirt for Margate need to do better than they’ve done today.”

Dulwich Hamlet created the first chance of the second half when Samuels picked the ball up in midfield and ran forward before looping his right-footed shot past the right-hand post from 35-yards.

But The Hamlet equalised after 55 minutes through Gonsalves’ first goal of the season.

Margate substitute defender Jamie Stuart was penalised for fouling James and Carew’s initial free-kick into the penalty area was cleared away.

Carew, who at the age of 28 is an experienced head in midfield, clipped the ball back into the penalty area and Gonsalves beat the offside trap, brought the ball down under his spell before slotting his right-footed shot across Bull for the ball to nestle inside the bottom left-hand corner.

Rose said: “Lewis is actually a centre half playing left-back! He’s been a great servant for us during the last three or four years. A great touch to be honest, nor surprising because he’s a good football player and it was a good finish as well.”

Brown simply added: “I think we was up looking for offside and paid the penalty for that!”

James played the ball up towards the edge of the Margate penalty area where Neita stroked a weak first time shot into Bull’s gloves.

And at the other end, shell-shocked Margate created a chance when Wills played the ball inside to substitute Tom Phipp, who sliced his shot harmlessly wide from 30-yards.

Margate went agonisingly close to regaining the lead halfway through the half.

Man-of-the-match Charlie Allen, Margate’s seven-goal skipper, brought the ball under control with his chest before cracking a stunning right-footed volley from 22-yards, which screamed narrowly wide of the far post.

Brown said: “A good effort. Charlie’s been sticking them in!

“We said beforehand and at half-time, you can’t keep expecting Ryan Moss and Charlie Allen to come up with the goals. Who else is coming up with the goals?

“Lewis Taylor is coming up with the goals. Lewis Taylor came up with a goal today. We’re going to miss him for a while.

“I need some of the others to come up with goals. I need Zac Attwood to come up with a goal. I need Luke Moore to come up with a goal. I need Jason Prior to come up with a goal. I’m not getting any goals out of them.”

Rose admitted: “We feared the worse! He’s scored a few goals so far this season. He’s got good quality so we feared the worse when we saw him on the edge of the box and bring the ball down but we rode the luck as you do and we won it at the end.

“I thought they were dangerous on the break. We always knew that they had two good front runners and a man in the hole which caused us problems as well so we knew they would cause us problems on the break.

“But I felt we probably shaded the second half in terms of possession and being aggressive in terms of looking to score.”

That miss appeared to knock the stuffing out of Margate and Dulwich Hamlet were on the front foot of the remaining 20 minutes of a high-quality game.

Samuels played the ball into Carew, who turned his man, and curled his right-footed shot around the far post from 30-yards.

Dulwich Hamlet pinned Margate back and Bull was forced into making his first brilliant save in the 72nd minute.

Carew played the ball inside to Hibbert, who took a touch before curling his right-footed shot towards the top left-hand corner, but Bull’s outstretched left-hand, high to his right, expertly tipped the ball over the bar.

Rose said: “Jordan done well, expressed himself. I thought he could have done a bit more of hat. He played within himself at times. It was good to see him express himself and then he saw what he could really do and the keeper pulled off a really good save.”

Carew’s resulting corner from the left was cleared out to Hibbert, who hit a first time right-footed drive, which flashed agonisingly past the foot of the left-hand post.

Margate were dangerous on the break, however, and they were to be denied with fifteen minutes of this brilliant game remaining.

Wills whipped in a deep cross towards the far post where Moss’ looping header dropped over Wilson but central defender Ethan Pinnock was on hand to head the ball off the line.

Wilson received a slice of luck when he grasped Wassmer’s header whilst sitting down at his near post, much to Brown’s frustration.

Dulwich Hamlet, however, continued to press for the winner that their attacking play deserved.

Vidal played a reverse pass to put in Carew in behind the Margate defence but his shot from a tight angle was never going to beat Bull at his near post.

But the 32-year-old goalkeeper was made to earn his corn when he continued to thwart the home side.

Xavier’s right-footed powerful drive was destined to rocket into the roof of the net before the Margate keeper pushed the ball away high to his right.

Carew then drilled a left-footed volley towards goal, which was tipped around the post by the diving Bull.

Rose said: “I think the good thing about us was when we were getting around the edge of the box we wasn’t trying to make the extra pass for the sake of it and we were trying to have shots and make them work and try to win the game.

“I thought we was aggressive in that respect. I think if the keeper’s being called into action a lot then at some point something’s going to happen.”

Brown added: “Nikki is a fantastic goalkeeper and we’re lucky to have him and I’m hoping that there won’t be too many times that I’m sitting in front of you offering lame excuses where we’ve gave away a game when we were winning at half-time!”

Margate almost won it at as the game headed towards the final two minutes but Luke Moore – who played behind the front two - drilled his shot into the side netting.

Hamici issued Margate a warning when he galloped forward and hit a speculative right-footed shot which rolled into Bull’s gloves for a comfortable save.

Dulwich Hamlet continued to dominate and Carew stroked a left-footed drive on the turn which flashed past the post, before Dulwich Hamlet won the game with the clock showing 47:55.

Pinnock clipped a long ball forward out of defence towards the left flank and a mistake from Wassmer proved costly as he let in Hamici, who cut in from the left and with the home fans roaring him on, kept his composure to drill his right-footed shot underneath Bull from inside the penalty area.

There was only time for Margate to kick-off but referee Graham Kane blew his final whistle much to the delight of the Dulwich Hamlet fans.

Hamici, who scored 12 goals for Southern Counties East Football League side Cray Valley last season, entered the fray with 82 minutes on the clock and received plenty of praise from his manager.

“I think he came on, he was positive and he worked hard for us,” said Rose.

“It’s hard when you’re coming on to a game but equally it must be hard for two centre halves when someone is willing to run.

“The ball came forward. It was an innocuous clearance really from Ethan Pinnock and he made something out of nothing really.  The work he put in, you get your just deserts when you work hard.

“It was going to be difficult for them after that, not time for them to come back on us!”

Brown said: “The second goal was horrendous, wasn’t it?!

“I felt Charlie Wassmer had an extremely good game and he’s an unbelievable talented centre half and he’s just made a monumental error that just cost us the three points today.

“What can you say? We’re one-on-one at the back and Charlie’s made an error so I’m not here to cane Charlie because he’s been magnificent and he’s the best centre half in this league by a country mile so he’s not my problem today.

“My problem is similar to last Saturday (1-1 home draw against Leiston) and that’s I need more goals form my attacking players.”

Tonight proves that the biggest spenders in the entire Ryman League can also lose games of football.

Rose said: “They’re an experienced group. They would have known they wasn’t to go through the season without losing.

“They’ve been beating decent teams handsomely and also they’ve had some narrow wins so I don’t think they go away thinking to expect to win every game.

“They know they have to work hard every week. I thought they knew that anyway. I don’t think they’ll have any disgrace losing to us. We won for ourselves because we’ve had two defeats in the row.”

Reflecting on his side’s 100% home record, Rose said: “We always like to enjoy a good home record, I think any club does. We’ve got great support who get behind us and push on the boys even further. It’s our home patch and we know it.”

Rose is keeping level-headed, despite being the first side to beat Brown’s boys.

He said: “It’s three points if I’m being honest with you! I think psychologically Margate would know on our day we can be a threat in this league but I think they knew that anyway.  To be quite honest with you, in all fairness, it’s three points. We’ve lost two on the bounce and we’ve got three points now. It wouldn’t have mattered who we came across, we just needed to get three points.”

Margate slipped down to second-place after Maidstone United edged two points clear following their 2-0 win over AFC Hornchurch at Aveley tonight, while The Hamlet climbed up a couple of places into fourth, five points behind the new leaders.

“I expect my squad to react better than they did in the second half,” said Brown.

“I was disappointed with my players’ reaction in the second half and disappointed with the result.

“I expect if we’re going to maintain our position at the top and we’re going to win the championship we can afford to lose maybe five or six games so let’s put this down to one of them and move on.

“My players will take responsibility. Stuart (Cash) and I will take responsibility We overall have to shoulder the blame and I would say we’ve lost out today in a fantastic game against a very good Dulwich side, so well done to Dulwich.”

Margate have been tagged as the “Manchester City of non-league football.”

Brown said: “If you look at our budget, our budget wouldn’t touch anything in the Conference so I think some of them need to go on an accountancy course.

“What we pay is more money than anyone else in the Ryman but let me tell you if you start talking about the Conference South and the Conference you’re talking about a different ball game.”

Dulwich Hamlet: Phil Wilson, Michael Kamara, Lewis Gonsalves, Kershaney Samuels, Terrell Forbes, Ethan Pinnock, Jordan Hibbert (Laurent Hamici 82), Kevin James (Kareem Boyle 82), Nigel Neita (Abdul Mansaray 68), Ashley Carew, Xavier Vidal.
Subs: Emiliano Hysi, Marlon Patterson

Goals: Lewis Gonsalves 55, Laurent Hamici 90

Margate: Nikki Bull, Anthony Riviere, Jack Bennett, Charlie Allen, Charlie Wassmer, Brett Johnson (Jamie Stuart 46), Lewis Taylor (Tom Phipp 45), Kane Wills, Ryan Moss, Zac Attwood (Jason Prior 80), Luke Moore.
Subs: Adam Cash, John Beales

Goal: Lewis Taylor 15

Booked: Charlie Allen 18, Jamie Stuart 53

Attendance: 811
Referee: Mr Graham Kane (Brighton, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Andrew Hickman (Northolt, Middlesex) & Mr Daniel Simpson (West Drayton, Middlesex)