There was a lot of talk that Storm Brian might of had a telling effect on the Bostik premier fixture at Champion Hill, Dulwich. In reality strong winds did sweep through South London but 1900 fans enjoyed a pulsating game of football.
Dulwich Hamlet FC are the blue ribbon club with in our Bostik family. Steeped in tradition, 3500 capacity ground in a leafy prosperous area and an average crowd of 1432 they appear to have it all. And perhaps this will be the season that they progress to the National League environment. Trust me they are more than ready and equipped for such a leap.
My first foray to Champion Hill started with a road trip in the old 206, which has recently had a full service and new cam belt, leaving Burgess Hill at noon. My usual BHTFC travelling companions Steve and Dan on board. We headed up the M23 and then joined the A23 hitting traffic through the Purely Way, Streatham and Brixton. Dulwich Village looks amazing, three million pound pads line the avenue, we are talking huge Victoria detached houses with sweeping drives. It would be nice to have a Sunday afternoon stroll around the place, grab a coffee and dream. Back to reality the ground is about a mile further on the Sainsbury’s site. We found a space in the new housing development behind the stadium.
After a quick beer in well appointed club house and would you believe a Thai Green Curry !! I took my place behind the Hillian’s goal for the first half. At this level there is no segregation so it didn’t matter a jot that I was the only Hillian amongst 400 Hamlet fans. Hamlet are in great form and during a one sided 1st half oozed class and sophistication. If you like a pass then Hamlet are for you. At one stage I counted a move of 33 passes which ended in a goal kick. However all through that Hill kept their shape, worked hard and made some telling tackles. The deadlock was broken on 34 mins when after another volley of passes in the penalty area Nathan Ferguson had the simple task of slotting from 8 yards. A real team effort.
Chappers slung his team out early for the 2nd half and brought on the dangerous Tony Garrod. The switch worked a treat as the new forward pounced on a goal keeping error to score a classic poachers goals. As a fan that’s exactly what you want to see from your centre forward. But as the old cliché goes ‘you are never more venerable moments after you score’ and that’s how things panned out. With in 90 seconds Hamlet were two one up when Nyren Clunis streached out a leg to toe poke past Huxter. A deflating moment for sure.
However Hill are made of sterner stuff these days and battled back. Debutant McKenzie put in the beautiful cross from the right as Garrod fought for the ball a Hamlet defender somehow tapped in for an amazing OG two two. The game then ebbed and flowed for the last 20 mins. On 85 mins the hosts went and won it. From a left sided free kick Dulwich put in a very dangerous and whippy looking cross right on the penalty spot and Michael Chambers rose to nod home . A classic winner.
Even then Hill could of nicked a point in injury time. After a save from the Hamlet keeper the ball fell nicely to Super Pat Harding who struck a powerful drive from 16 yards which got blocked on the line. Three two loss but a wonderful game.
Our local Bostik Premier league are flying the flag for Mid Sussex and things are very much on the improve. The ever involving and improving team as managed by Ian Chapman are going places. Three consecutive losses is a slight concern but Ian will be looking to ‘arrest’ that situation when we visit Met Police on Tuesday evening. Follow that match here later in the week.