Dulwich Hamlet 1 (Akanbi) Hemel Hempstead Town 3 (Castiglione, Obi 2) Vanarama National League South Tuesday 13th September 2022 Match Report by Allan Mitchell
A much needed three points on the road lifted the Tudors out of the bottom three in a tight and sometimes nervy game at the Champion Hill Stadium.
Both teams came into the game on a recent run of poor form with Hamlet just one place above Hemel in the table and the first half was a cagey affair with The Tudors having the slightly better of the chances although they were few and far between from both sides. Charlie Barker almost opened the scoring on 15 minutes when he met a header from a corner but he was unable to keep it down and it flew over the bar.
The Tudors did finally break the deadlock in the 31st minute when a poor pass out from the back was intercepted by Reading loanee Nahum Melvin-Lambert, he played a quick one two with Josh Castiglione before driving into the box, he then laid it back across to Castiglione who managed to turn and get his shot away, he scuffed his effort somewhat but it had enough on it to take it past Joe Osaghae’s desperate dive, clipping the post before rolling in.
Hamlet’s best chance came on 41 minutes when Ronnie Vint rose unchallenged to meet a free kick, heading it into the path of George Porter who smashed his first time effort against the foot of the post with Craig King beaten, Vint saw his follow up effort blocked.
The second half saw Hemel struggle to keep the ball and with the rain now pouring down in torrents, Dulwich pushed forward and you felt it was only a matter of time before they equalised and it was a combination of poor finishing and some desperate defending that kept them at bay but in the 61st minute Andre Blackman fired in a cross from the left to the waiting Ibby Akanbi who controlled it before turning and firing it past King to level the scores.
Dulwich continued to press and it looked as though they would be the more likely to go on and win the game but Craig King and his resolute back four kept them at bay with some fine saves and desperate blocks and the home side were made to pay for not capitalising on this pressure when in the 82nd minute, sub Ogo Obi chased a lost cause down the left, Hamlet defender Vint was outpaced as Obi bore down on him and fell to the ground looking for a free kick which never came and the Hemel striker raced away, tucking the ball past Osaghae from a tight angle to restore the lead.
The game was now very open with both sides creating chances but it was ‘Super Sub’ Obi again who put the game to bed in the last minute of injury time when he again picked the pocket of a Dulwich defender who was trying to shepherd the ball out for a throw in, Obi took the ball off him and had a completely free run on goal, making no mistake slotting it past the keeper as he tried to close him down.
The referee called time moments later and the hardy band of Tudors fans behind the goal who had stood willing their team home whilst the heavens opened, celebrated the first win since the opening day of the season. Hemel: King; Harris O’Connor, Charlie Barker, Jack Westbrook, Kory Roberts; Godfrey Poku © (Ryan Hope) Dara Dada (Bayley Brown) Dom Morgan-Griffiths, Brooklyn Ilunga; Josh Castiglione, Nathan Melvin-Lambert (Ogo Obi) Subs not used: Jordan Greenidge, Josh Lelan. Attendance 970 Tudors Man of the Match: Harris O’Connor.