Despite defeat in the latest Capital League match, Delroy Preddie’s young reserve side can take some pride in containing a highly skilled fast paced Dulwich Hamlet and keeping in the game until the very end.
Dulwich dominated possession in the first half and had some good early chances, despite having to reorganise after some of their players were held up in traffic. Triallist keeper Jamie Young had to save smartly from Abdul Mansaray who had cut in from the right wing before unleashing a shot and Sulayman Bah saw his long shot fizz just wide of the post. United had their first effort soon afterwards when Danny Burnell fed the ball through to Cyril Ocansey whose low shot was kept out by the advancing Sean Bazell.
Ocansey will have been disappointed not to capitalise on some hesitant defending in the 10th minute as he seized upon Tyler Myers’ weak back pass and rounded Bazell, but off balance, he pulled his shot across the open goal.
A very slick move opened up United’s defence in the 16th minute but Dean Lodge, who ended up putting the ball in the bottom corner, was flagged for offside. Then, in a very lively period of play, both sides hit the woodwork in quick succession, Dulwich from an Adeyinka Cole corner which was powerfully headed onto the post by Ethan Pinnock followed by United’s Jack Thomson-Wheeler who received a square pass from Matt Cooper and drove a rising shot from fully 30 yards which cannoned back off the upright.
Dulwich got into the ascendency and Myers intercepted a Christopher Gerrard pass before trying a speculative long shot which Young did well to hold on to. On the half hour, their pressure told as Mansaray dispossessed Joel Scott before advancing into the area and squaring the ball to Lodge who beat the exposed Young from 10 yards.
The lively Solomon Ofori had a chance to equalise eight minutes later when he robbed Pinnock of the ball but his shot was blocked by Bazell who was again very quick off his line. He then attempted a lob after being found by Gerrard’s cross field pass but put too much force behind it and the ball sailed over.
Dulwich once again applied more pressure before the break with some very fast paced interchanging of passes and Cole missed a good chance by firing just wide of Young’s post from just outside the area. However, he made amends a minute later as he latched onto Kershaney Samuels’ throughball and composed himself before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. United were somewhat overrun at this point and had Young to thank that they weren’t further behind as he denied both Lodge and Mansaray in one on one situations. United were very much grateful for the half time whistle.
Preddie’s team talk clearly had a positive affect as United came out rejuvenated and ready to compete more effectively. In fact, they were able to stifle Dulwich’s fast attackers with much better application and when Burnell and Ofori combined with Ocansey in a swift breakaway, the ball was eventually worked back to Ofori who slotted the ball past Bazell to put United right back in the game.
Dulwich responded like a wounded animal and Cole fired an audacious long shot against Young’s post almost immediately from the restart. However, the second half was far less eventful than the first and a more balanced midfield battle ensued. In the 71st minute, Thomson-Wheeler just failed to pull the trigger on Ocansey’s low centre despite being in a good position and by the time he got his shot away, Pinnock was in position to charge it down. Then at the other end, the highly impressive Pinnock headed Mansaray’s corner just wide of the far post.
Young made one more excellent stop, from substitute Femi Orenuga, and although United remained full of running until the end, Dulwich retained possession in the closing stages with poise and authority and were able to see the game out for a narrow but deserved victory.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Jamie Young.