Monday, 15 December 2008

From mundane defeats folklore is born….

“The magic of the cup” is well worn cliché in football. On the odd occasion you might get a small sprinkling of it, buy rarely so does it come the way of “The Rabblers” in the national knock out competition of the Internet Football Association Cup. Bar the one year when we got a bye, then a walkover, which put us into the last sixteen, we’ve not had much, make that any, success in this pot. That was back in 2006. When we finally played a game it was away to Crewe Alexandra Supporters’ & on a glorious Sunday we travelled all the way up to the Manchester borders to turn the form book upside down, to record a famous (well famous for us!) 2-0 victory against the more fancied hosts. We came down to earth with a bump in the quarter finals, going down 6-1 to Nottingham Forest. Less than half of the IFA teams enter the cup. So why do we bother? We’re certainly never going to win it. Well I can’t vouch for what goes on inside the current managerial duo’s heads-who can?- but the reason we first went into it was simply because it was there. A chance, if lucky in the draw, to play new teams, or make re-acquaintance with old foes. The only problem we have is always opting for the ‘regionalised’ part of the draw. For the competition is an ‘open’ draw, but split in two, in the early rounds. For those who want to play anyone, & those who prefer it to be slightly regionalised. We opt for the more local version. Which is playing it safe. Not in terms of what opposition you might get, but travelling wise, if drawn away. As you could end up in Aberdeen, if they also entered & opted for the national version! So regional it was, and that’s how we got drawn against fellow London opposition, and none more local than Millwall-only two stops down the line- at south Bermondsey, from East Dulwich station. Not the best of draws, as a ‘moral victory’ would be to keep the score below single figures. Already this term the Lions fans’ had put double figures past both Cambridge United and Leyton Orient…so heaven help us! The venue itself was strange. The John Orwell sports centre, in Wapping. An alright in itself facility, but the wrong side of the water! Perhaps it was Millwall going back to their old east London roots! They may be Sarf Lunnon through & through nowadays, but they certainly weren’t born in our corner of south-east London! Not that that’s a bad thing mind. I was born in Islington, and didn’t move to Champion Hill-literally, as I grew up on the estate behind the ground-until I was nearly five. It was also an extremely strange day & kick off time for a supporters’ football match, as they are usually on Saturday mornings. For some bizarre reason our Gaffer Mick O’Shaughnessy agreed to an 8.30 kick off on a Thursday night! Which is a strange night for a supporters’ match, & somewhat late, which meant an extremely threadbare squad for the evening. Not quite the full eleven, but bolstered with the ‘holy trinity’ I did say ‘heaven help us’ & while that didn’t quite materialise those mythical gods were on our side, as not only did we keep it below double figures-just-the ‘holy trinity’ of ‘Southwark News’ reporters turned out for us; but unbeknown to us the entire First Team squad appeared en masse to cheer on “The Rabblers” in a quite amazing role reversal! For those of us lucky to be present this night will linger long in the memory. The score and match were unexceptional. Trounced as expected. But the backing of our heroes kept the team going, and made every single man have belief. There may be some out there who don’t believe that getting behind your team can boost players, but for over half an hour “The Rabblers” held, harried & hindered their far technically superior opponents. And that was down to one thing, and one thing only. The magnificent encouragement from the sidelines of the Dulwich Hamlet First Team squad! I really wanted to go up and stand with them as I watched the match, but couldn’t bring myself to. Which may sound a bit silly. But these lads are my heroes, and ‘ordinary non-league players’ they may be, but they are no less idolised by me as the likes of Neil Harris & co. are to those who frequent the South Stand ‘dahn the Den’. I was like a little kid again, wanting to, but not brave enough, to ask for their autographs!

The game itself had a pre-match build-up in the ‘Southwark News’:

DRAW THROWS UP LOCAL DERBY IN SUPPORTERS' CUPSupporters from Dulwich Hamlet and Millwall will go head to head next Thursday, in a bid to secure silverware in the Internet Football Association Challenge Cup. The competition, which includes teams from both Scotland and England, has thrown up the local derby in the first round as the two well established outfits have a crack at proving they are the best supporters' team around. Both outfits look set to field strong sides and although the supporters' cup is designed to engender friendship among rival outfits, the contest is expected to be keenly fought. Michael O'Shaughnessy, co-manager of the Hamlet outfit, said: "We are just looking forward to a hard fought game, with Dulwich looking towards keeping the score down as much as possible. We have high hopes of victory but we do acknowledge our limitations. We are all about people having fun and enjoying themselves when they have a game of football." The Millwall team start the game as favourites, having demolished their Leyton Orient counterparts 14-0 in their last run out. But manager Ian Toal is expecting a tight game and states his team are not just about winning at all costs. He said: " When we started this team nine years ago we wanted to improve Millwall's reputation, and the idea was to meet other teams and leave them with a beter impression of Millwall supporters. "We are quite a good tea and the last time we played Dulwich in a cup game we only won 1-0.In our last game the other team weren't very good and everything we hit went in.But the main thing for us is that people leave with a better reputation for Millwall fans." The match takes place at the John Orwell Sports Centre, Tench Street in Wapping with the game kicking off at 8.30pm, any supporters are welcome to come along and watch the match. "

Would it live up to the hype on the local press?

Well our Gaffer Mick certainly talked up the team, but on the night we could only ‘compete’ with the team we had available. And if the watching First Team head honcho thought his First Team squad was threadbare at times, his selection was positively luxurious compared to “The Rabblers”. On the night only nine players were available, with the management duo of the Gaffer & Hutty staying on the touchline themselves. We were bolstered at the start by two ‘on loan’ guests from the large Lions squad, one of whom ‘retired’ when Paul Downes, the First Team assistant manager, offered to guest, having only turned up to watch.
This was the game of the ‘Alamo’ for the Hamlet, the only difference was we failed to retreat & hide completely, but stood our ground in our own six yard box. Holding the roaring, snarling Lions at bay for over half an hour, before they finally broke through, for them to go in two goals to the better at the break.
Truth is they were expected to crush us comfortably anyway, but it was the encouragement from the sidelines that kept the Hamlet team going right to the end.
The rare excursions into their half invariably came to nothing, the first not coming until ten minutes into the match.
The ‘drama’ started when the referee allowed a clear backpass to go unpenalised, which led to a few few choice words from Mr. Downes, who nearly returned to the touchline a lot earlier than expected! A lecture from the official ensued who didn’t take kindly to being called ‘pathetic’! Downsey’s defence was he queried the decision, not the actual whistler himself!

Our players behind the far goal, already jeering & hooting Millwall with every touch, as well as cheering us on, broke out into a chorus of “The referee’s a wanker!”, which didn’t actually offend the man in black, but one of the Millwall team! Turns out he ran the sport centre, and threatened to call the police as they were being too rowdy, and he’d get complaints from the neighbours! Oh the irony! Especially as he was shouting about the 'fucking swearing', which sort of killed his argument! Delicate little flowers Millwall eh! Is this the same Millwall team that have been suspended from the Internet Football Association due to their violent conduct in the past? (Though, to be fair, we’ve NEVER had any problems with them, & it was this Millwall team that introduced “The Rabblers” to the IFA)
Once ‘peace’ was restored, & our lads moved away from directly behind the goal and the residential properties behind, they continued to cheer us on just as loudly from the sidelines, and the Millwall players bickered among themselves as our raucous contingent clearly got under their skin. Chance after chance of their went begging. Whether it be a superb save from Matt in goal, a clearance from the line, a shot just wide, or a ‘showman’ effort cocked up when a ‘blast at goal’ would have done the job, we were holding out! It was rumoured that their main forward had scored thirty eight goals in nine games! But even if it was only half that's a formidable opponent for us to face!
Eventually something had to give, and our net finally bulged, from a rebound after yet another Hammond stop, which he could only palm outwards, to one of their forwards who gratefully tucked it away from six yards out. But despite this setback we had our brief forays up the other end, including a somewhat speculative shot from John Prendergast. But in the main the action was up the other end. Corner after corner, as we battled to clear our lines. Normally it’s a defender on each post, but tonight it seemed there was a wall of Pink & Blue stripes strung between the woodwork!
Inevitably a goal came from one of these corners. The ball floated into the area and their huge lump of a centre half rose unchallenged to head into the net. I would say ‘leapt like a salmon’ apart from he was so gigantic that he barely stood on tiptoe to be head & shoulders above all our boys, & judging by his ‘athletic build’ I would say it was highly unlikely that he could ever leap like a salmon! With half time beckoning we managed one more sortie up the other end, Robbie McLintock going close, more by luck than judgement, the ball being ‘controlled’ off of his shin! Or as he described it; "I scuffed it!"

After the interval it wasn’t a case of ‘Could we hold Millwall’ but ‘How many could we hold them to!’. No target was set, but if it was to stop them hitting double figures then that was achieved…just! With seven for no reply against us in the final forty five minutes you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a total “Rabblers” collapse. It was actually nothing of the sort. Well yes, we did collapse against a much fitter & stronger Lions squad, not to mention younger & continual rolling subs through the half. But we continued to battle, spurred on by the players supporting us on the sidelines, which continued to annoy some of the Millwall contingent! “You’d think this was Old Trafford!” said one. “I wish we could play their First Team. Who the fuck do they think they are?” said another! The arrogance of some of them was astounding, and would have been laughable, if it wasn’t so sad! There were certainly one or two out there for our opponents who might, just might, hold their own in an average Kent League side, but that was it. Craig actually recognised their keeper, who apparently had a trial at Aveley, when he was there. "The established lads called him Ian Dowie, and it wasn't because of the football.."
Some of the Milwall players-though not all, by long chalk- were showing a complete disregard for us, as their local non-league neighbours. We may be a small club to them, but they are just as small to the likes of Chelsea or Liverpool! One of the biggest whingers was the centre manager, who was still moaning that “I’ve got to deal with the complaints” as the First Team sang “We’re going to win 9-8!” after they went eight ahead! A pity he wasn’t so concerned about pocketing our match fees for the pitch, while only offering cold showers! Just a well I’m not the complaining type, I was kinda hoping he’d have enough on his plate from the local yuppie neighbours!

The final score was Millwall 9, Dulwich Hamlet 0. The Lions fans deserved winners, far superior to us, and surely in with a chance of lifting the IFA British Cup come the end of the season. But the real victors tonight were the supporters of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, who gave their all-putting in more effort than they ever thought humanly possible, thanks to our heroes in Pink ‘n’ Blue turning up to turn the tables on the supporters’ in the Pink ‘n’ Blue stripes!
At the final whistle the players’ clapped the fans, & the fans applauded the players! A truly surreal moment that will never, ever be forgotten by those who were there!

To all the players & staff who made the journey to this dank part of the east end….we all salute you!

Well they seemed to enjoy it:

The match even got a write-up in the ‘Southwark News’, following on from mentions on both the official Dulwich Hamlet & Isthmian League websites!

Here is what the ‘Snooze’ said:

HAMLET PLAYERS BECOME SUPPORTERS FOR FANS' GAMEThe Hamlet first team turned out in force for a fans' game, after manager Craig Edwards decided it was time to give something back to loyal fans. The Dulwich gaffer cancelled last thursday's training session, and brought the players along to a Hamlet supporters game in Wapping where they took on local rivals Millwall. Rather than sulk about the request, the squad got into the full spirit of the event and threw their weight fully behind the team. At one stage the 'fans' were asked to keep the noise down by the Millwall team, as they were afraid that the noise would draw complaints from properties surrounding the pitch. Despite the threat Edwards felt the ploy ended up being a massive success, he said: "We played on the Tuesday and we were awful. I saw the supporters behind the goal and it was freezing and we gave them nothing to lift the spirits." He was told later that the supporters' had a cup game on the following Thursday, and he decided to take the step to show that the players and the club appreciate the fans efforts. Edwards added: "When I heard about the game I told the boys they would be going along to support as we have to give a bit back to people who come along and watch every week." The evening proved to be a great bonding night for the players, who united in their banter towards one player in particular: "Paul Downes, our assistant manager, played for the supporters and they were giving him lots of stick. Everything he says to them in the dressing room was said to him that night, but the whole evening was great and we all got something out of it." Despite the fans losing the contest 9-0 to their fitter rivals, Edwards feels that the night underlined what he already knew about the club: "When we go to any club we try to get everyone pulling in the same direction. you do go to places where that quite clearly happens, but the one thing I love about this club is that everyone is together and I was just pleased with how the whole evening went."

I’ll leave the final words to some of the comments on the independent Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ messageboard:


“Absolutely amazing. I can't make these midweek evening games but I would love to have been there.”


“The Millwall game was amazing! The result didn't matter, we didn't expect to win anyway, it was a 'moral victory' for us to keep it down to single figures!Having Paul Downes 'guest' for us probably helped, though our Gaffer Mick O'Shaughnessy was moaning about him running off at the end without paying his subs! ;-)Though I didn't play this match will go down in Supporters' Team folklore as the day the players turn up en masse to support us!Thanks lads, thank you!We thank YOU for supporting US!”


“I think this was one of the Supporters Team great nights. It was a fantastic performance from both supporters players and the support the team received from the first team squad. You have to take into account this is a Millwall team who are always at the top of the IFA league. And they had a very large squad of young, fit players to pick from, and lots of fresh subs to bring on, when the match was drawing to it's conclusion. So towards the end of the match, when time started to catch up with one or two of us (it's already caught up with me) The goal count against us maybe wasn't a true reflection of the effort that the supporters’ team put in. As the Millwall manager said, if the score had been kept to 0-0 or 1-0 by half-time, who knows what might have happened.But at the end of the day, a big thank you to Craig and all the team for turning up and supporting the supporters team. It's something that will always be remembered. And Paul, you still have some kit of ours, and you owe me subs.-) Just like the good old days, eh!!”


“ That’s what makes this management and set of players one of the best I’ve seen in 35 years for team spirit and connection with the supporters. Well done Craig, Paul and the squad. I wasn’t there on Tuesday but by all accounts it wasn’t our finest hour. Well done for giving the fans something back.”


“Now I'm not going to reel out a match report, I'll leave that to others. What I want to mention is the support that we the supporters team were given last night. While walking to the game we were for want of a better word hollered at by some fella in car. Knowing us as Dulwich fans he asked if we wanted a lift to the sports centre.... now at first I thought this was a generous gesture by one of the opposition players. But upon getting closer some of the more committed Hamlet fans recognised him as Lyndon Lynch. After a brief chat we discovered that he was going to be watching us that night along with Craig Edwards & Paul Downes. I believe our game had been mentioned to some of the management team earlier that week. It was after we had changed and approached kick-off that things got a bit surreal. As from nowhere a group of people emerged with Klaxon's & horns blowing, chanting Dulwich songs. Upon closer inspection we were watching the Hamlet first team arrive as supporters. They took up the usual "rabble” position of being directly behind the opposition goal and boy did they do us proud. For over half an hour we held on, by hook, by crook, by luck or just sheer bloody single mindlessness. But it was also those fans that helped us . The cheers we got after a save, shot, header won and block tackle made drove us on and it really got under the skin of Millwall. Suddenly it was Millwall that were misplacing passes and making mistakes... and the look on their strikers faces as another chance was wasted was a picture. We even had a hold up in play as not only the neighbours complained about the noise, but one of the Millwall players was heard to say that the police should be called because of the support being given. How times have changed....?As we changed ends we heard shouts that despite "being two down, Hamlet are a second half team and we should get into them" This tremendous backing continued throughout the second half even as the legs tired and the goals rained in. At the end we were clapped off.....Now I don't know as to the actual reasons behind this but it seems that the players usual Thursday training had been cancelled after the performance mid-week and Craig had set a 3 line whip for all and sundry to show up and watch those same supporters that had travelled, paid and seen them play so poorly on Tuesday night. But whatever the reason's it must go down as an inspired move on behalf of the management team. Hopefully the players got some brilliant team bonding out of it and will use it during the rest of the season, but the respect I now have for Craig and the guys has shot up. Now I'm not somebody that goes to every game or even all the homes. But there will be times this season when things wont go to plan or we play bad but if I'm there, I'll remember last night and give them the same support.They deserve it, C'mon you Pink n Blues...!”


“We went there with just one intention and that was to keep the score down to single figures. It is always a shame when players let you down it just seems all too regular now, but we made do with the team we had on the night. The support we received from Craig, Paul, Lyndon and the players was amazing and something I’ll never forget. I believe this spurred us on and to hold Millwall for half hour was fantastic. Their players getting more wound up at not being able to find our net, whilst we were receiving great support what a feeling!Once again a massive thank you for the support!!!”

Thursday, 11 December 2008

K's no longer Kings!

The Rabblers 4,Kingstonian Supporters' 1
Saturday 6th December 2008
IFA League
at Belair Park


And so onto the morning after the night before, a top of the table clash and a Hamlet Christmas party thrown in for good measure. That's what the 20 or so hardy fellows had to deal with as a preamble to this match. Upon arrival at the ground you couldn't help but notice that there was an immediate problem as for once we outnumbered the opposition in significant numbers. Apparently Kingstonian had suffered a fate well known to Rabbler managers past and present.... late morning texts advising of illness, car trouble or unavoidable overtime. They were down to the bare bones (7 players) when a final call came through announcing that one of their players had a car accident on route to Dulwich, and wouldn't be able to play. At this point the game was in doubt but Andy, the K's manager rallied his troops and stated that they were still up for it. After a quick head count it was decided that we lend them 3 players to enable a game of two 35 minute half's to take place. With respect to our previous encounters, Hamlet went for a 4-3-2 formation which gave us the protection that Matt felt he needed at the back with enough players in the middle of the park to create chances for the forwards. After a cagey start Dulwich slowly began to take control. A couple of good Hamlet moves ended in both wasted chances and good K's defending and or keeping. Finally though the pressure told and Dulwich scored a neat goal, James O'Shaughnessy tucking away his first of the game. Kingstonian managed to battle back with the play seemingly being directed down their right wing, after some neat play the ball fell to one of their players on the edge of the area who hit a shot goal-wards. The ball was to close to the Hamlet keeper who managed to tip the ball over. The next chance that fell K's way dropped to Ian Gannon, a rabbler loanee. In a good build up Ian found himself in the box with only the goalie to best, a quick shot curling into the left hand corner was tipped away by an outstretched hand. Honour had been saved. However Kingstonian equalised after a David James style moment, a long ball was half-heartedly chased down by the K's forward. And in what seemed a routine move of collecting the ball out on the right of his area the Dulwich keeper inexplicably sliced a clearance. As the ball fell kindly to the opposition the home defence rallied. As they attempted to get the tackles in and hold the play up the forward cut back inside and hit a sweet shot that went in off the near post. Afterwards Matt Hammond explained this error as "seeing the ball and then losing it in the sun after which he just panicked." There was a truly bizarre moment in the game when an amalgamation of keeper, defender, post, keeper and finally keeper again kept out no less than 5 efforts on goal in a 30 second blitz. I still cannot work out how we didn't increase our lead as by this point the K's were already further behind with the pink n blue second goal coming via one of the 3 Matt's to turn out for the home side. After a break away he coolly tucked his finish past the on rushing K's custodian. It finally seemed as if the partnership of James and Matt was working. Half time came and after setting new strategies we approached the second half with vigour. Never has advice been taken on board as quickly or effectively as James did with his second goal. He was told to play the ball early, and boy did he. From our centre, it was no more than 6 touches that found Kingstonian 3 down. A series of swift passes found him around 30 yards from goal. In one movement he had knocked the ball up and unleashed a shot that soared over the keeper into the top corner. At this point it seemed inevitable that Dulwich would go on and record a large victory. Again our luck wasn't in while playing in the final 3rd of the field, with Larry, Fel, Matt (number 3) and the forwards having chances saved. Occasionally there was a wrong choice of pass but the overall play was good. The bite in midfield was provided by Al, Larry and Fel who worked hard winning the ball. While at the back possibly due to having an extra player Matt was able to step up to effectively play as an additional midfielder. This left the defence as Paul, Steve & Shaun who all made telling headers and blocks throughout. The goal-scoring was wrapped up by Matt who netted his second and Hamlet's fourth after about 55 minutes. Kingstonian battled on gamely with only some quick defending keeping the score down. A special mention should be made to Ian Wright, Phil Baker and Ian Gannon, the Hamlet players that enabled this game to go ahead with their willingness to turn out for the "oppo." Well done lads. I wouldn't like to name a man of the match as nobody really stood out and as you can tell by my description of the telling moments of the game I was too far away to see what happened, but if pushed I'd give it to Ian Wright, Phil Baker & Ian Gannon. As I mentioned without them we would not have had a game. It would have been easy for them not to play but they got on with and helped make it an enjoyable match Squad: Matt Hammond, Paul Verrico, Steve Rickerby, Shaun Dooley, Ian Wright, Matt Edwards, Matt Pike, Ferenc Morath, Lawrence Marsh, Phil Baker, Ian Gannon, James O'Shaughnessy & Al Margolies.

Thank you to Matt for this report, which will keep Chris T. on his toes! Now two differing reports on the same match in future would be great! No pressure chaps...
but seriously, thanks to both Matt & Chris. This blog is nothing without its contributors.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


It's seems a long time now since I've posted on this blog, not that many people bothered to notice really, but it's time to get the 'enthusiasm' back & catch up on the backlog.
So first up is the home game back in September, against Hendon, who were brand new opponents for us. This report was kindly sent to me by Chris Tabrett.

Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' FC 3
Hendon Supporters' 2

Saturday 27th September
11am kick off
Belair Park,Dulwich

It was a sunny and very hot day when "The Rabblers" took on the mighty supporters of Ryman Premier Division outfit Hendon FC. This match was built up for an easy walk over for the opposition seeing as there was a few postings on the forum suggestion that the Hendon lot were expecting an easy victory, but how wrong they were. The game was a match of two halves as "The Rabblers" had a solid first half, scoring all three goals in the this period. You could certainly put this down to the fact that everyone was fighting for each other, the defenders kept it solid at the back, the midfielders won every single battle in the centre of the park,with some important headers and some great passing to open Hendon up, and the strikers had their scoring boots on. The first goal came in the first minutes as James O'Shaughnessy slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0. Hendon did not know what had hit them. "The Rabblers" piled even more pressure on as Ian Gannon got the 2nd goal to make it 2-0. Shortly after that Ian was substituted as his re-occuring foot injury was played up, which saw his replacement Shaun Dooley come into the fray. As soon as Shaun came on he hit a sweet half volley which the keeper struggled to save, scrambling down to the bottom corner. Then the 3rd goal came which James neatly finished to get his 2nd of the game and or third and final one. The Hendon lot couldn't wait for the half time whistle to go.

At half time the 'Gaffer' Mick was totally gob smacked and actually told the troops that we were playing some nice stuff, but we were also playing too much football. You won't here those comments come out of his mouth again!

The 2nd half kicked off with "The Rabblers" looking for the first half performance to be repeated. hHwever this was not the case as Hendon fired back with two quick goals. Dulwich held onto the lead and had two chances to finish the game off. The first of these was a great header and was superbly saved by the goalkeeper. The ball was whipped in from the right wing and rising from the 18 yard line Chris Tabrett connected a dipping header which the keeper got a finger tip denying him his first ever "Rabblers" goal. However the second chance was a great opportunity with midfielder David Yuill linking up with James perfectly, and running through still in an onside posistion was Chris Tabrett waiting for the pass, but'greedy' James had every right to go for goal even if his team mates thought different. Dulwich held on and with a couple minutes to go one of the Hendon midfield players struck a great volley that Matt Hammond saved. The final whistle blew and Dulwich Hamlet held on for a great victory.

Overall the back four did a fantastic job and was well organised by skipper Steve Rickerby, the midfield ran their hearts out by creating a lot of chances and helping to defend their lead and the strikers finished off enough of the chances when they came along.

Team: Matt Hammond; Matt Pike; Matt Edwards; Steve Rickerby; Paul Verrico; Phil Doyle; Dawn Taylor; Chris Tabrett; David Yuill, Ian Gannon; James O'Shaughnessy & Shaun Dooley.

Thanks to Chris for that excellent report.

The following Wednesday we were away to Hendon, unfortunately losing, in the replay of the FA Cup second qualifying round tie. Their official First Team programme inlcuded a report, obviously from their persepctive, on the match at Belair,written by Steve Rogers:

"Our Supporters team played their first game of the season ahead of our FA Cup tie against Dulwich Hamlet last Saturday and despite going down to a 3-2 defeat, it was a very creditable performance that manager Eddie Edwards was very pleased with.
However, it was a poor start for the Greens, who found themselves 3-0 down inside 15 minutes as individual errors were punished. But after the third goal Hendon seemd to gain in confidence as they settled down and got used to playing with each other again. The Dulwich defence held firm and the home side still led 3-0 at half-time.
The Greens had the perfect start to the second half when Nick McMullen finished well after being set up by Jake Osborn.
There were a few scares when Dulwich broke away, but Ritvars in the Hendon goal was in fine form and made a number of important saves, gaining the man of the match vote from the manager in the process.
The second goal came with around 15 minutes to go courtesy of a player that was loaned to the Greens from Dulwich after he too was set up by Osborn. The best chances for an equaliser fell to under 13 manager Leo Gerald, but the Dulwich keeper made a great save."

I wasn't present at the game itself as I was working, though I did make a trip to the ground afterwards, to ask the Gaffer Mick O'Shaughnessy for his views on the match. Unfortunately-despite this being the only reason for me having gone to Champion Hill that evening- when I got my notebook out he told me that his assistant Hutty would write something for me & send me an email.

Which he did, & I reproduce below:

"Team Matt Paul Steve Matt Matt Phil David Dawn Chris James Ian sub Sean come on after 48 mins for Ian

Dulwich Hamlet S FC 3 Hendon 2

Dulwich dominated from the start plenty of through balls from the midfield finding our strikers.
James scored from a long ball from David after 10 minutes followed by more pressure and finally another goal by Ian after
15 mins . Several more chances went begging until the the 30min when James fired home Dulwichs third.
In the first half our defence and midfield had dominated and our strikers finding the net which enabled us to go in with a 3 nil lead at half time.
Ian was substituted after 25mins because of a foot injury by Sean who went up front.
Hendon came into the game in the second half and scored after 50mins which really drove them on. Matt in goal made numerous saves one
world class in which he saved at full stretch a hard shot which he palmed away with one hand. `
Hendons dominance paid dividends as they clawed back another goal after 75mins poor defence by Dulwich letting the ball go under there feet.
The last 15 mins saw Matt keep Dulwich in the game with 4 more minutes added on by the referee made for a tense finish.
Full marks to our visitors Hendon for being sporting opponents"

He also forwarded his review of the match onto the Gaffer, & Mick added these words of wisdom:

"I would add that some of the football played by Dulwich in the first half was superb. We kept the ball down and passed it really well. Chris Tabrett particularly played really well in the opening period. Second half wasn't as good as the first but apart from the first goal, we seemed to keep Hendon at bay quite comfortably. When Hendon scored their second, tiredness seemed to catch up with one or two of us, as it always seems to do now, and we had to be grateful for Matt in goal for a few outstanding saves to ensure our victory.

Should point out that Ian went off injured in the first half just as we were thinking of bringing on a substitute. That was with about 25mins played. So it was a great effort by all those who played nearly the full 90mins.

The match was played in the right spirit by both teams. And a big thank you to Mr.Baker for refereeing the match. Even if his watch went a bit wonky in the last few minutes. Definitely a team of supporters we would like to play again if other commitments allow it. A big thank you to the Hendon supporters for contributing to a very sporting match."

To be fair to Hutty he did attempt to send me on the full names of the team. Not perfect, but an improvement!

"Here is the team names :- Matthew Hammond Paul Vennier Steve Rickaby Matt Pike Mat Edwards Phil Doyle Dawn Taylor Chris Tabbett David Yuill James O'Shaughnessy Ian Gannon sub Sean Dooley "

Still, it goes without saying thanks to all four people for contributing to this post. Cheers!

Monday, 8 December 2008

I can't get a 'headline' space when I try to create a post.

And this comes up in the blank bit:

>autodelete inactive warning blog space remove auto old blog delete>

Anyone know what it means please & how I can get the heading bit back?