Dulwich Hamlet 3 Burgess Hill Town 2: Hillians narrowly lose to late goal away at the league’s leading club

Tony Garrod is expected to be back in the squad for Saturday
Tony Garrod is expected to be back in the squad for Saturday

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 1,900 fans still enjoyed a pulsating game of football.

Burgess Hill Town manager Ian Chapman and assistant Stuart Tuck in deep conversation pre-game at Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111536002

Burgess Hill Town manager Ian Chapman and assistant Stuart Tuck in deep conversation pre-game at Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111536002

Dulwich Hamlet are the blue ribbon club with in our Bostik family.

Steeped in tradition, 3,500 capacity ground in a leafy, prosperous area and an average crowd of 1,432 they appear to have it all.

It would be nice to have a Sunday afternoon stroll around the place, grab a coffee and dream.

The ground is about a mile further on the Sainsbury’s site.

James Shaw, one of two excellent stoppers for Burgess Hill Town.
Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111549002

James Shaw, one of two excellent stoppers for Burgess Hill Town. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111549002

We found a space in the new housing development behind the stadium.

After a quick beer in well appointed club house and believe it or not a Thai Green Curry, I took my place behind the Hillians’ 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 first half oozed class and sophistication.

The Cardigan Club: Bradders is back! Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111602002

The Cardigan Club: Bradders is back! Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111602002

If you like a pass then Hamlet are for you. At one stage I counted a move of 33 passes which ended in a goalkick.

However all through that Hill kept their shape, worked hard and made some telling tackles.

The deadlock was broken on 34 minutes when after another volley of passes in the penalty area Nathan Ferguson had the simple task of slotting from eight yards. A real team effort.

Chappers (manager Ian Chapman) slung his team out early for the second half and brought on the dangerous Tony Garrod.

Burgess Hill's Tony Garrod pounces on 47 mins to make it 1-1 against Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111615002

Burgess Hill's Tony Garrod pounces on 47 mins to make it 1-1 against Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-171023-111615002

The switch worked a treat as the new forward pounced on a goalkeeping error to score a classic poacher’s goals.

As a fan, that’s exactly what you want to see. 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 2-1 up when Nyren Clunis stretched 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 own goal for 2-2.

The game then ebbed and flowed and on 85 minutes the hosts went and won it.

Hill’s goalkeeping coach John Rattle ranked it as a ‘keeper error.

From a left-sided free-kick, Dulwich Hamlet put in a very dangerous and whippy looking cross right on the penalty spot and Michael Chambers rose to nod home. It was a classic winner.

After a save from the Hamlet goalkeeper the ball fell nicely to Hill’s super Pat Harding who struck a powerful drive from 16 yards which got blocked on the line.