Dulwich Hamlet 4-0 Godalming Town

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Three wins on the bounce for the mighty Hamlet, though the four-goal margin is perhaps an unfair reflection of what was, for over an hour, a tight and finely balanced game. Godalming Town kicked off six points ahead of Dulwich in the table, but were playing their first game since the departure of their magnificently-monikered former manager, Chuck Martini, who has returned to a life of crime on the Costa Brava*.

Dulwich lined up with Jason Pinnock as a solo striker, Sol Pinnock and Nyron Clunis offering support from the wings, and player-manager Gavin Rose alongside Kevin James in midfield to provide extra security for the defence. And he was needed, as Godalming’s midfield dominated the early play. Victor Kiri impressed with some neat touches and tidy passing, despite looking about twelve. But the visitors were unable to find a penetrative final ball, and Dulwich – who spent much of the half aiming poor long balls at the heads of their front three – had the best chance of the half, Pinnock S screwing the ball over from close range after good work from Clunis down the right.

But the breakout star of the first half was Graeme “Purds” Purdy, up front for the visitors, whose afternoon oscillated between frustration and stupidity. First he collected a pointless booking for following through with a boot after James Dunn, in the Hamlet goal, had long since collected the ball. Then came two penalty shouts, the first of which might well have been given; the referee, to the relief of the crowd, chose to disregard the striker’s torn shirt and waved play on.

Purdy was thoroughly unimpressed, though his chosen response was a risible dive that might have seen him pick up a second yellow. The antagonist on both occasions was Hamlet’s captain, Furious Francis Duku, who leapt at the opportunity to have a polite word with the prone striker about the ethics of simulation.

The second half began equally cagily, Godalming again enjoying the majority of the play but unable to find a way through the Hamlet defence. Then, in the space of five minutes, the game changed completely. First Pinnock J timed a run beyond the visiting defence to perfection and finished neatly, much to the chagrin of the opposing back four. Godalming’s centre-halves were left standing with their arms in the air in confused expectation, like two elderly gentlemen hailing a bus without being entirely sure where they’re going, or why.

Six minutes later, Purdy remembered an urgent appointment and collected his second yellow after violently scything through Kalvin Morath-Gibbs near the centre-circle. Morath-Gibbs had to be carried from the field and took no further part in the game, while Purdy – pausing only to throw away a small piece of tape – shambled off, taking Godalming’s prospects with him.

A goal up, a man up; Hamlet took control. Godalming withdrew right-back Yinka Salaam for lanky striker Richard Shittu, but the resulting three-man defence was horribly exposed down the flanks. Solo goals from both Hamlet wide-men followed in quick succession, first Clunis, then Pinnock S. The latter was particularly impressive, the winger – in celebration of his 100th appearance for the club – bursting down the left before leaving the last defender horribly cross-eyed and jelly-legged with a drop of his shoulder.

His finish was emphatic, and killed off any final thoughts of recovery that the visitors might have been entertaining. Alim Sesay then added a fourth after good work from baby-faced substitute Tom Lancaster, who also saw his own instinctive effort glide just wide of the far post.

Seventh in the table. Up the Hamlet!

* Chuck Martini has NOT returned to a life of crime on the Costa Brava.

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