Dulwich 3 – 3 Hampton & Richmond

Yesterday morning, on the way to work, I got caught in a torrential downpour. You know when you’re wearing drenched jeans and your feet are swimming in your socks, with a long day ahead, it’s one of those moments when all you can do is think, Bollocks, and wish you could go back to bed. A bad start to the day.
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Later on, we made our way to the game via Denmark Hill. Having never enjoyed the delights of The Phoenix before, an immediate pint after exiting the station sounded like a good idea. If we’d known what a charmless bastion of ponce the place is, a quick snifter of Pritt Stick would have seemed preferable.
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If you licked the barmaid, your tongue would have stuck to her.
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My bank manager called me up after I bought two pints.
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And various other failed witticisms.
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Anyway, the theme of disappointment had been cast from the start, and the Hamlet didn’t disappoint by failing to disappoint.
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See, I’m just trying to confuse you now, to give you a sense of how I felt, a few minutes before the final whistle – when I realised we weren’t winning 3-2.
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We’d missed the start of the second half, and Hampton’s third goal.
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I didn’t hear any mention of us being behind again, and thought Callum Willock’s goal was the winner. The realisation we were losing 3-3 dawned on me like Piers Morgan must have dawned on his parents, when he learned to speak.
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For much of the first half, Hampton were the better side. They were breezing through our midfield at times, which isn’t the first time a team has enjoyed that liberty this season. They seemed to put some quality passes through for the forwards, and it was obvious they’d test Phil Wilson.
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Before long they were ahead, and while we huffed and puffed, we didn’t ever get in our stride. It was like watching Frank Bruno trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
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I kept looking out for Rhys Murrell-Williamson, thinking he might produce some magic. I had to squint though because he was over on the left wing, and we were standing near the managers’ dugouts. As a weird, flashing drone hovered eerily over the pitch, I watched the Hayes man wander the barren plains of the left wing, forlorn.
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“He should be on the right wing,” I moaned, sagely. When he started playing on the right, however, he still looked frustrated, searching for opportunities. Was it him that put in the cross for Damian Scannell’s goal? Possibly. Whoever it was, the goal was unexpected to say the least.
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A sudden injection of vigour saw us pouring forward, and Scannell was instrumental again, passing to Kevin James who made it 2-1. Excitement grew as it seemed we were about to release the swagger.
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Shortly before half time, Hampton put a stop to all that, when they forced a save, and ended up winning a penalty. For handball, I believe.
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Their man slotted it home and the teams went in level at 2-2. A disappointing end to the half, which had nevertheless provided plenty of action, and left me musing on Callum Willock’s ability to win every header going in a five mile radius, and Osei Sankofa’s captain-like qualities, as he never stops shouting instructions, telling players to regain focus instead of moaning at the ref, etc.
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Hey, we were pony for most of the half – I had to take some positives.
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As I said, we missed the early stages of the second half, and Hampton’s goal. So we were feeling cheerier than others might have been, watching the rest of the match. The game continued to be difficult although we were a better match for Hampton in the second period. They did have a goal ruled out, mind, so we were riding our luck given the real score.
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Ashley Carew provided for Willock’s equaliser and I was pleased for the number 9, as I’d been impressed with him throughout much of the game. And there weren’t many other players I could have said that for.
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Conceding three goals in each of the last two games is harsh. Wilson has looked a quality stopper most times I’ve seen him play, and the Drage/Pinnock partnership has been impressive also.
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When it rains, it pours, I guess.
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