PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
DULWICH HAMLET – 1 [Coleman 90.]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Gray 17.]
After the trip to Bansted, our pre-season took a turn for the worse with the cancellation of the game at Staines, then with the apparent ‘double booking’ of the Tuesday game here at Dulwich.
One question. How do you double book a pre-season friendly exactly? It’s not like you’re awash with fixtures with which to get confused…
So we had to be shifted along to the Thursday, whilst the big Conference charlies nicked our spot. Bastards. Bet they brought as many along as we did as well.
Like Banstead, the pre-match routine was once more trying to work out who the hell half the blokes were with U’s shirts on.
“Erm, nope, no idea. Um, no dunno. Oooh look, Paul Honey…..”
Eventually we are able to discern that after about a month of speculation, Danny Oakins has finally made an appearance and starts at centre back. Which is handy, ‘cos we’re a bit short of those. Had we mentioned it?
Another debutant is ex-Wimbledon midfielder and local boy Peter Fear, it seems the Joff/Nigel Brake partnership might be giving us a helping hand here! Other names of note are Jay Conroy and Glen Wilson, both ex-Palace & also defenders. A gentleman by the name of Stuart Booth sits on the bench and is given glowing references by Mr Honey Senior, apparently he originates from Milwall and was with K’s last season. Poor sod.
Oh and our run of brilliantly named triallists continues with a gentleman named Benson Kapaka on the bench. If nothing else, people should be getting a giggle out of our line ups….
Things start fairly quietly for both sides until after around 10 minutes, the hosts work the ball to the left bye line. The ball is pulled across to the near post and a goal seems certain, but Andy Iga making his first pre-season appearance makes a brilliant reaction save and somehow keeps the point blank header out.
Good to see you back big fella!
The home team’s pace and direct attacking cause our makeshift rearguard some trouble, but after 17 minutes, it’s the U’s who are ahead and it’s a bit of a soft goal really. Matt Gray cuts in from the right and hits a low shot from 20 or so yards out. It’s on target, but not particularly powerful, but the ‘keeper is a little slow getting down and the ball bobbles over his hands.
New man Oakins almost doubles the advantage a few minutes later, sneaking in round the back to meet a Gray corner from the right, but he directs his header just the wrong side of the far upright. Gray is again involved down the right immediately after, swinging in a great cross that the ‘keeper just manages to touch off Andy Martin’s head.
The rest of the half is pretty uneventful until the last couple of minutes, when our ‘defence’ (I use the term very loosely here!) fails to mark properly from a free-kick out on the right, allowing a free header. This time Iga is beaten, but the ball thumps back off the inside of the post, bounces along the goal-line and is cleared.
Our response isn’t long in coming. Gray is again the outlet, playing a ball towards the corner of the 18 yard box for Peter Fear, but he cleverly steps over it, allowing it to run onto Andy Martin who in one movement smartly turns and strikes the ball onto the target, but the Dulwich ‘keeper makes a good save, pushing the ball away for a corner.
The half ends with Martin getting onto a through ball, but his effort is blocked inside the area by the ‘keeper.
JR makes a couple of changes at Half-Time, resting Andy Iga and giving Phil Wilson a run out. Also on are Kenny David (who we actually find out afterwards is called David Kennedy!) and a blonde haired lad by the name of Stuart Booth who goes into midfield.
Within 2 minutes of the restart, the ref, who despite this being a friendly is managing to get nicely on our tits with some really fucking stupid decisions, out does himself with a corker. Glen Wilson, wearing our no5 shirt shadows a ball accross the edge of the 18 yard box. With a striker closing him down, he takes a touch, looks to play back to Wilson but decides to try & keep going. The attentions of the striker have got a little, erm, physical by this point and because of this, both players go down in a heap in the box. To which the ref absurdly awards a penalty.
Erm, correct me if I’m wrong, but our man was in possession and had their bloke virtually on his back. How the feck is it a foul to THEM you moron?
Thankfully justice is done and the Dulwich no17 shows his ‘Corinthian’ spirit by blazing the ridiculously awarded spot kick high & to the left of goal. Well, either that or it was just a shit effort….
Within a couple of minutes, Gray again is causing problems down the right and delivers a great cross just beyond the back post. A goal seems certain as Joff soars into the air and heads on target, only for the ball to hit the shoulder of the flapping ‘keeper, who has his back to him and bounce out to the left. Nigel Brake quickly puts the ball back into the danger area and again Joff meets it, this time nodding just wide of the near post.
The game keeps up a fairly entertaining tempo despite many changes by both sides. Honey poking a shot across goal from the right after more good work from Gray allows Fear to play his fellow midfielder in. The home side threaten on the berak when Honey loses the ball in midfield, but Wilson makes a superb last ditch tackle on the edge of the box to deny the shooting chance. Akuamouah dispossesses a midfielder 30 odd yards out and goes for goal, but drags his shot wide when well placed.
On the hour, Joff wins a header 30 or so yards out and Kenny David finds himself in the clear. He beats the ‘keeper to the loose ball and lobs it over his head, but sadly the ball thumps back up off the hard turf and bounces back off the face of the bar and into the grateful ‘keepers arms.
The game then suffers a lengthy delay when Wilson, having rather poorly lost the ball out on the right a few yards out, piles into his opponent from behind, more than a bit after the ball has gone. The Dulwich man stays down for a good 10 minutes and he eventually leaves the field on a stretcher. Considering it’s a PSF and an entertainingly competitive one at that, it really is a bloody silly challenge and one that probably warrants a card.
Hmmm, don’t call us Glen. We’ll call you eh?
Wilson is called into action shortly after the match resumes, twice saving well with his legs after attackers have cut through our ropey defence. Our own shout for a penalty is then turned down after a towering Scott Corbett header from a corner is clearly handled on the edge of the 6 yard box and Martin Dunne almost scores a couple of minutes later, but can’t quite touch in a pacy corner across the face of goal from the left, out at the back post.
As the many Sutton subs take their toll, the last 10 minutes is mainly Dulwich looking for an equaliser. And it proves to be a busy few minutes for Wilson in the U’s goal. First he holds a fierce low free-kick, then makes a mad point blank save when a goal seems certain after an attacker has got to the byeline & rolled the ball across the 6 yard box to an unmarked opponent. It’s a stop that even draws a little clap and nod of admiration from his opposite number at our end of the ground.
But, with 2 minutes left, the home side get the equaliser their overall performance deserves. A ball in from the left finds a striker in way too much space and despite Wilson making another good stop from his snap shot, another pink n Blue shirted man follows up to tap into the empty net.
But overall, a pretty enjoyable 90 minutes barring the bad injury to the Hamlet man. With Wilson having his best game for us so far. Other plus points were the return of Andy Iga, the largely solid performance of Oakins and the wonderfully all action midfield showing from Stuart Booth, who buzzed about all night, snapping in challenges.
Even Benson Kapaka looked pretty useful when he came on.
Well, it’s starting to look a bit better. Which is pleasing.
TEAM : Andy Iga, Matt Gray, Nigel Brake, Danny Oakins, Glen Wilson, Jay Conroy, Peter Fear, Paul Honey, Joff Vansittart, Eddie Akuamouah, Andrew Martin SUBS : Stuart Booth, Lewis Gonsalves, Scott Corbett, Martin Dunne, Danny Jeffries, Kenny David, Benson Kapaka, Glenn Boose, Phil Wilson (GK).