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Margate 1-2 Dulwich Hamlet | Match Highlights with Commentary
Watch match highlights with commentary from Margate 1-2 Dulwich Hamlet at Hartsdown Park in the Ryman Premier League: bit.ly/Mar1-2Dul
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Margate 1 Hamlet 2
Ultimately a well deserved victory for the Hamlet against a Margate side that didn't really live up to its billing and has now won just once in its last six league matches. I'm sure they must have watched us against Leiston last midweek (with their own League Cup match washed out the same night) and it seemed as if they decided their best bet was to emulate the Suffolk side's cautious approach in looking to capitalise on counter-attacks and set plays. However, few teams outwit us in this way as we're far more comfortable passing the ball around patiently in the middle third, switching the ball from side to side and utilising the full width of the pitch until gaps open up, than with teams pressing and chasing us in our own half.
After a slow start to the game Hamlet enjoyed a real purple patch during the middle fifteen minutes of the first half, in which we took the lead and could easily have doubled it. Our passing game seemed to unsettle the home defenders, with our quick forwards almost running rings around them at times, and their pair of bulky centre backs looked especially ill at ease. Carew, whose creative input was a dominant feature throughout, danced past his marker inside the box to the right of goal and squared the ball low into the goalmouth for Clunis to slam into the net on twenty minutes. Margate were still reeling when Vidal cut inside from the left and unleashed one of his trademark searing drives toward the to corner that was brilliantly tipped away by the keeper at full stretch. But then the Hamlet were hit by a sucker punch as Margate converted their first real chance on the half hour, capitalising on a slight misunderstanding on the halfway line as Carew failed to anticipate Dixon's chested pass; the loose ball was relayed out to their right wing, where we were caught shortnumbered, and the subsequent cross into the middle was headed past Wilson. It seemed ominous that all our hard work and supremacy had failed to give us a half time lead. Surely Margate, with their collection of players either vastly experienced at higher levels or cherry picked from the best other clubs in our own league, would make us pay?
The second half was more even, but Hamlet still played the better attacking football while Margate's approach looked a bit unsophisticated by comparison. The winner came around ten minute into the half when a cynical foul around thirty yards out was punished by the accuracy of Carew's free kick, floated diagonally towards the far post where Pinnock rose highest to glance the ball into the bottom corner. There was still some defending to be done, and some saves to be made by Wilson, but given how long we had to hold out it was nowhere near as nervewracking as the game at Maidstone, where we held out for ten men with Wilson tested to the limit.
I have to say I really question whether Margate is set up to fulfil their rich benefactors great ambitions to attain Football League status. The attendance was their biggest since September, but not by a lot, and included around 200 away fans. There was a pleasing absence of dimwitted glory hunters with an 'anti-opposition' agenda, which made for a friendly enough atmosphere, but apart from the reputations and pedigree of the manager and players there wasn't anything else about the place to suggest a club on the brink of something big. Last season their ground was among the most basic in the division (essentially an old ground that had been largely dismantled) with one side accommodating a couple of small 'Meccano' stands and the other with portacabin dressing rooms and completely closed off to spectators, while the far end looked like a bomb site. The only improvement so far is the addition of a substantial seated stand with no roof behind the far goal. Who wants to sit out in the open in winter, especially if it's raining? It just looks a like a cut-price tick the boxes ground grading exercise. Then there was the ludicrous extravagance of a free shuttle bus from the station forecourt to the ground - a distance of less then a mile with no hills. Four of us took advantage of this just for the novelty value after arriving at the station around 2.20pm, and there were only four other passengers on it. I just hope their leader's ambition doesn't lead them to ruin.
Team (4-2-3-1): Wilson - Abnett, Forbes(c), Pinnock, Shaw - Carew, Dixon - Wanadio, Vidal, Clunis - Ottaway.
Subs: James (for Ottaway), Jarrett (for Wanadio), Samuels (for Vidal), Kamara, Hibbert (not used)