Hamlet take their chances
Dulwich Hamlet 2 Enfield Town 0; Champion Hill attendance of 2,249 is an all-time high at a match involving Town
A great advert for Ryman League football, sizeable travelling support, but no points was the outcome of Saturday’s visit to table-topping Dulwich Hamlet, who had fewer chances but were clinical in front of goal.
Town’s possession for long periods and the creation of a number of good opportunities should hold them in good stead for the remainder of the season, although manager Bradley Quinton will be looking for a much higher conversion rate during the remaining 18 league games.
On a grey afternoon punctuated by blustery showers, the hosts’ pitch held up well and, once the opening midfield exchanges had settled down, Nathan McDonald was soon in action, gathering a shot from Jordan Hibbert and then making a fine stop to deny former Kingstonian and Margate striker Ryan Moss.
There was very little to choose between the sides in the first half. On 27 minutes Bobby Devyne played in Corey Whitely but home keeper Phil Wilson was out quickly to smother the danger. Two minutes later a slick Hamlet move between Moss and Dean McDonald was broken up by a timely intervention from Ryan Doyle.
Ethan Pinnock was equally effective with a challenge to stop the flying Tyler Campbell but, on 33 minutes, the home side drew first blood when a corner on the Dulwich left from Ashley Carew was headed home emphatically by Mitchell Nelson.
In the 37th minute Dean McDonald drove an effort into his namesake’s midriff, who then saved a Carew free-kick. At the other (Sainsbury’s) end, Whitely had a shot saved by Wilson.
Half-time: Dulwich Hamlet 1 Enfield Town 0
Town came out after the break with all guns blazing, and Campbell was just wide from Whitely’s flick. Harry Ottaway headed a Nathan Livings corner fractionally off target, and then Wilson made a crucial stop from Campbell again. Dulwich’s man-of-the-match Matt Drage then hacked yet another Campbell effort off the line and, at this point, it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would draw level.
Claudiu Vilcu, not without an element of danger, chested the ball back to McDonald to break up a home raid and then was soon pressing forward to get into a good position to apply a finish to a great cut-back from the right by Ottaway, but he couldn’t make a significant enough connection.
On 65 minutes Ottaway fired just wide again and, with twenty minutes to go, after a superb Town move, Whitely dragged arguably Town’s best chance of the game wide of the far post after being set up by Campbell. Town never gave up, though, and Hamlet’s second goal ten minutes from the end was against the run of play. McDonald (D) had a shot which was blocked on the line, but sub Rhys Murrell-Williamson was on hand to apply the finishing touch.
The final action of the match was an off-target effort for the hosts from Danny Waldren. Town fans on the way home were probably repeating that well-known football phrase “on another day….”, but Hamlet’s solidity was impressive and it would seemingly take a major reversal of fortune for them not to grab a play-off place as an absolute minimum.
Full-time: Dulwich Hamlet 2 Enfield Town 0
Dulwich Hamlet: Phil Wilson, Mitchell Nelson, Jordan Hibbert, Danny Waldren, Matt Drage, Ethan Pinnock, Nyren Clunis (Jack Dixon 71), Ashley Carew, Ryan Moss (Rhys Murrell-Williamson 58), Damian Scannell, Dean McDonald (Jacob Erskine 81). Unused: Albert Jarrett, Kristian Campbell. Booked:
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Ryan Doyle, Samir Bihmoutine (Jandir da Cruz 81), Claudiu Vilcu, Harold Joseph, Stanley Muguo, Tyler Campbell, Nathan Livings (Phil Lowen 81), Corey Whitely, Harry Ottaway, Bobby Devyne (Evans Kouassi 71). Unused: Joe Stevens, Mickey Parcell. Booked: Joseph, Muguo.