Dulwich Hamlet 1 Woking FC 3
Vanarama National League South
22nd April 2019
The sky was blue with just a few puffy white clouds as the Cards arrived at Champion Hill, the home of Dulwich Hamlet FC. The grass was being watered, so there was hope of some quick football. The ground, set in South London and the subject of a long running controversy over planning and development (check here for a great article on the topic)
After a weak performance and disappointing result on Good Friday, Woking fans were looking to see something a much more positive approach from the team. Ben Gerring was back after the end of his suspension with Cook moving to right back again. Allassani also returned to the starting line up at the ground where he had played a big part in the home team’s promotion and earned his move to Coventry City. Ferry dropped to the bench, to which Jake Hyde returned.
For Dulwich, Anthony Cook was the 'returning player' as he played 17 games for Woking last season.
Woking set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kretzschmar in the middle behind Luer and with Cadogan and Allassani on the right and left wings, although the front four were interchanging and exchanging passes all through the match.
Both sides started brightly with Allassani immediately attacking for the cards down the left. Very early on, Edwards made a save at the far post from a header by Gerring after a corner from Kretzschmar. Allassani created another good attack on the left. There was plenty of action with few chances or incidents but with both teams moving the ball quickly.
Luer was being manhandled each time he went to take the ball on the head with his back to goal, but eventually won a free kick 25 yards from the corner. Little got a shot in but it was very high. Kretzschmar put over an early cross to Allassani who got the ball back to Cadogan who shot firmly, but put the ball too close to the keeper.
Kretzschmar won the ball in a tackle and gave it to Allassani who went on a run and put a through ball up Luer on the left hand side. The striker got the ball back to Allassani whose shot just went just over the top corner of the goal - the best chance so far.
Connor Hunte beat Casey too easily on the right in a dangerous position and put in a great shot that Ross just managed to palm onto the post and in the scramble that followed the ball went out for a goal kick - clearly Ross had no hangover from the game on Friday - the high class save kept the cards from going behind.
On 20 minutes, Cadogan, who was lively throughout the match, then got into the box and put the ball back to Kretzschmar whose shot looked as though it had gone in when seen from the press box, but was inches wide at the far post. Both teams were trying hard to make the breakthrough and there was lots of end-to-end play.
The Cards won a throw-in in the attacking third and for the first time used Luer's long throw. Diarra got a head to the ball, but it looped into the keeper's arms.
Hamlet made a dangerous passing move from Cook to Akinyemi to Hunte who was clumsily tackled by Diarra on the edge of the area. Diarra was booked, but Hunter was, sadly, stretchered off after 25 minutes to be replaced by Allen. The resulting free kick from the edge of the area went over the bar.
Woking threatened several times, but the finish just wouldn't come.
An attack by Dulwich but was stopped by good defending from Cadogan who got a counter attack away with Luer. He got a pass to Kretzschmar, but again the shot was just over.
In defence, Gerring got the ball to Cook, who attacked all afternoon and who got the ball out to Cadogan who was taken out, bringing a yellow card for Allen. From the resulting free kick, Diarra got in a header that flashed across the goal but went out just wide of the far post.
Diarra was in action at the other end and made the tackle of the match when Akinyemi started a counter attack and got the ball to Allen. He got in the box, heading for goal, but a world class tackle from Diarra came in as he went to pull the trigger. The ball went out for a corner, and Diarra was hugged by Ross in gratitude.
Hamlet were trying to counter and neat work again by Anthony Cook down the right was a reminder of his time at Woking last season.
A slick passing move involved Kretzschmar, Cadogan, Luer, Little and, finally, Allassani, but his shot just missed. From the resulting corner, a shot by Cadogan flew over the bar.
Just as we waited to see how long the referee would add to the first half, Kretzschmar was fouled by the corner flag on the left hand side. Diarra got a flashing header on to the free kick to get the ball firmly into the net making it 1-0 to the Cards, just seconds from half time.
The referee added three minutes of extra time - extending an enjoyable half of football and a complete contrast to the first half on Friday.
The sprinklers were on again a half time (which caused some players to slip in the second half)
Half-time: Dulwich Hamlet 0 Woking 1
The Cards started the second half in the mood to finish the game off and with high intensity.
Allassani beat his full back to pull a cross back to Little, but his shot went wide. Kretzschmar and Allassani combined well to threaten, but Hamlet defended well. They were looking for chances to counter attack and when Gerring slipped, Akinyemi almost got through.
An amazing run down the right by Cook (another MotM candidate) saw him get into the area where he got a pass to Kretzschmar, but his shot was well wide. Luer and Little were combining well and Cook threatened again, although this time the ball was put out for a corner.
Another attack by the Cards saw the Hamlet defence get in a tangle and Allassani was credited with a tap-in goal, making it 2-0 to the Cards
Hamlet hadn't given up and Ferguson effected a strong counter-attack, beating Ross only to slip as he shot just inches wide.
Another attack by Cadogan produced a pass to Luer who got the ball to Allassani on the right hand side and he hammered the ball home. That made it 3-0 and the Cards were in control.
Dulwich made a change bringing on Vose for Thompson.
Woking were pushing Hamlet back. A mistake in the defence gave the ball to Luer who ran across the edge of the area looking for space for a shot but his shot was eventually blocked. A counter-attack was well defended with Woking defenders blocking shots
Dowse made his first changes them with Hyde on for Luer and Hodges for Kretzschmar. Dulwich swapped Wanadio for Rich-Baghuelou.
On 76 minutes, Little made a strong forward run and beat several Hamlet players, but Hodges, the recipient for his pass, was offside. Cook made another marauding run into the box and thought he was taken out by a blow to the face, but the referee did not agree. Allassani came off for Ferry at 80 minutes, to the generous applause of both Woking and Dulwich fans.
Although down, Hamlet were not out and tried to get back a consolation goal. Just as three minutes of extra time were awarded, a fierce shot from outside the area by Tajbakhsh gave Ross no chance and meant no clean sheet for the Cards as the score became 3-1
The healthy attendance of 2648 ensured a very good atmosphere to the game.
It was hard to believe that this was almost the same team that played so poorly on Good Friday. Today, they were quick and aggressive from the start and maintained the intensity for pretty well the whole match. There was good interplay and passing, especially between the front players and in the second half, Woking controlled the midfield much better. The whole team played well and choosing a Man of the Match was hard - there were candidates all over the pitch and nobody had a bad match.
Craig Ross, Jack Cook, Josh Casey, Olu Durojaiye, Ben Gerring, Moussa Diarra, Reise Allassani (James Ferry 80’), Armani Little, Greg Luer (Jake Hyde 72’), Kretzschmar (Paul Hodges 73’), Kieron Cadogan
Nathan Collier, Sam Mason
Diarra (46’), Allassani (57’,61’)
Preston Edwards, Quade Taylor, Jamie Mascoll, Aryan Tajbakhsh, Magnus Okuonghae, Jay Rich-Baghuelou (Luke Wanadio 72’), Anthony Cook, Nathan Ferguson, Dan Thompson (Dominic Vose 64’), Connor Hunte (Charlie Allen 28’), Dipo Akinyemi
George Essuman, Caio Vale-Guimaraes
Man of the Match:
In the end, the man of the match award had to go to Allassani for his attacking threat from the very first minute and, of course, two goals.