Dulwich promotion hopes dashed again

Dulwich Hamlet 0–1 Havant & Waterlooville

Things once again didn’t go the way of Hamlet as they lost their second game on the bounce at home to Havant & Waterlooville .

After a lacklustre first half, The Hawks scored the only goal of the game and continued to frustrate the home side as Hamlet’s playoff hopes began to crumble. 

Dulwich started this game sixth and in the final playoff spot, so a win was crucial in their hunt for promotion. 

But Havant & Waterlooville had playoff hopes of their own and if they wanted to keep their dreams alive Saturday was key, a loss likely confining them to another year in the division.

After a 2:2 draw in the teams’ last meeting, it was set up to be a cracker. 

But this game didn’t go like the last fixture. As it kicked off, neither side got a grip of the ball, both teams seemingly happy to hit the channels or sling it long to the forwards.

However, when the Dulwich’s wide men got service, they looked good and by far the more threatening side. 

The best Hamlet chance of the first period came through Jordan Green, when he left Joe Newton behind and flashed a low cross across the face of goal.

Ben Shroll was on hand with a vital intervention to avoid a Kandi tap in.

The Newton vs Green battle would prove to be a key throughout the game. With Newton on loan from Coventry he has been crucial for the Hawks and their best player of late.

The Hawks looked dangerous from set pieces. Being a big side, they put this aerial threat to good use and caused issues for Hamlet who survived a goalmouth scramble midway into the half after a corner was directed goal bound but some last ditch stuff from the boys in pink kept the scoreline at 0:0. 

football match

As the second half got going and both sets of fans were probably looking for more, it always looked like the first goal might win this one with it being a niggly affair, without many gilt-edged chances.

The Hawks took the lead 10 minutes into the second half.

After a good dummy and spin near the halfway line, Manny Duku left the Dulwich back four chasing his trail and smashed the ball home from the right side of the box, before jumping into the buzzing travelling supporters behind the goal.

It was a good goal from a player who has caused Dulwich problems throughout the first half with his dribbling ability and strength.

Dulwich have struggled to win after conceding first and Saturday was no different.

There was just something missing, a little moment of flair or a gut-busting run, even a big challenge to give the rabble something to cheer about.

Try as Dulwich might, there just seemed to be a feeling it wasn’t going to happen once Havant & Waterlooville got the opener.

It was clear the home side were frustrated with tempers boiling over on a couple of occasions, this only played into the visitors’ hands as they frustrated Hamlet. 

As Havant changed to a more defensive setup, Hamlet sent on Mills and Blackman in the hunt for the equaliser.

Much like last week against Hampton & Richmond, Dulwich once again found themselves trying to unlock deep lying defensive units who were clearly happy to sit in for the remainder of the game and hit on the counter.

Green found himself through late on but the Havant defence managed to do just enough to put him off as he blazed over.

The Hamlet number seven looked to be the most threatening, but the chance of the match came to Kandi in the 86th minute when a Mills header fell to him eight or so yards out.

However, he was only able to blast his side foot effort over the bar and that looked to be it for Hamlet.

It was another disappointing display that left them out of the playoff spaces and in desperate need of a win to keep promotion hopes alive.