Dulwich Hamlet v Cray Wanderers – London Senior Cup 2nd Round – Wednesday 30th November


Dulwich Hamlet                                         4     

Clarke 31, 35, Hibbert 60, Porter 65

Cray Wanderers 3

Bamba 62 pen, Cook 77, Wood 90+5

Cray Wanderers exited the London Senior Cup but only after a dramatic finish to a game that Dulwich Hamlet seemed to be coasting but two late goals threatened a Wands comeback in the last twenty minutes.

On a cold evening, Dulwich led 2-0 at half time with a brace from Jayden Clarke after the half hour mark.  Dulwich looked to be well on top after the break and on the hour Omari Hibbert touched in at the near post to make it 3-0 and seemingly game over. The Wands pulled a goal back two minutes from the penalty spot scored by Yahaya Bamba who had been felled in the box.  However, three minutes later ex-Wand George Porter restored the three goal advantage with a terrific half volley.   

Cray pulled a second goal back in the 77th minute with a quality, composed finish from Anthony Cook and Nyren Clunis almost scored with a header that was cleared off the line.  Sam Wood curled a shot just over but in the fifth minute of added time, hit a sublime chip from out on the left and over keeper Aaron Jones.  Despite a close call when Mitch Chapman was denied by a block and clearance almost off the line, Cray just couldn’t get a goal to take the match to penalties.

There were two changes to the Wands side from Saturday’s draw at Carshalton with Mitch Chapman and Michael Ademiluyi in for Danny Bassett and Tom Derry. Nyren Clunis had made 486 appearances for Dulwich Hamlet and received a very warm response from the Hamlet fans before and during the match.  There were two ex-Wands in the Dulwich Hamlet, goalkeeper Charlie Grainger and George Porter.  

Dulwich started the brighter of the two sides and won a handful of early corners and from one from the left the ball came to Kreshnic Krasniqi who headed wide of the left post.

Cray worked their way into the game and a Clunis free kick hit the wall from a good position and Bamba was causing some problems down the right and put over a good cross which Grainger claimed at the second attempt but chances were thin on the ground.

The game went through a quiet spell for a few minutes but Dulwich were just beginning to get on top and Sanchez Ming down the right broke into the area and his effort was blocked by a combination of Shaun Rowley and defender and out for a corner.

The deadlock was broken in the 31st minute when from a free kick around 25 yards from goal, Nana Owusu’s shot was parried by Rowley but following up Jayden Clarke tucked home the rebound.

Cray really needed to stay in the game and fell further behind after a swift break down the right from Owusu and his cross was perhaps deflected towards the far post where Clarke was on hand to score his second of the match.

The Wands were just hanging in there and before half time Porter almost scored a third with a header saved by Rowley from an Ashley Nzala cross.

HT:  2-0

There were a couple of changes at half time with Kellen Fisher and Anthony Cook coming on for Jephte Tanga and Ben Krauhaus and Dulwich came out the second half looking like they wanted to put the game to bed.

Five minutes after half time, from a free kick down the right, Will Wood’s clever near post strike was pushed out by Rowley and behind for a corner. From the corner, Quaide Taylor shot over the bar and then Clarke saw a shot blocked.

On the hour, Dulwich scored a well worked third goal as down the right, Ming’s cross to near post was turned in by Omari Hibbert on his first team debut for Hamlet.

Cray hadn’t had much joy going forward and Sam Wood and Cerny Ando were brought on for fresh legs but the Wands did get back into the match in the 62nd minute when Yahaya Bamba was brought down by Josh Hill for a penalty which Bamba converted for his first Wands goal.

In the 65th minute it looked like game over as Dulwich scored a fourth goal, decisively finished by Porter who did well to find space inside the area and his a sumptuous half volley high into the net.

Dan Bassett was brought on for the last 25 minutes and ten minutes later Joe Felix came close to a fifth goal for Hamlet but his shot was deflected onto the crossbar and over for a corner.

Two minutes later out of nothing, Chapman found Cook who strode forward down the right and the ex-Hamlet player did well to drill a shot under the legs of substitute keeper Aaron Jones to make it 4-2.

Cray almost made it 4-3 straight away when from a free kick, the ball was played into the area and missed by Jones and Clunis’s header was cleared off the line and behind for a corner, from which Cook headed wide.

Then Bamba hit a shot over the top and saw another strike blocked behind for a corner.  Then from a free kick to the left of the area, Cook curled over the top.  This was followed by Sam Wood cutting in from the left and curling fractionally over the bar.

There were just a couple of minutes of added on time when Sam Wood made it 4-3 when glimpsing Jones off his line, hit an exquisite chip which sailed into the top right corner to leave Cray a glimmer of hope of rescuing the game.

With the last chance of the game from a free kick, with Rowley heading into the area the ball was played into the area, Hamlet couldn’t clear and Chapman just couldn’t get enough purchase on his shot and the ball was cleared virtually off the line and with that the Wands last chance went.  Dulwich now go through to a last 8 tie at either Wingate & Finchley or Woodford Town.

Cray put in a lot of effort against a National South side and although over the game Hamlet deserved the victory, Neil Smith’s side can be very pleased with their performance and once again showed their resilience and made a great game of it.

The Wands now head to Kingstonian on Saturday looking to maintain a decent away league unbeaten run and in pretty good spirits despite this defeat.

Dulwich Hamlet: Charlie Grainger (Aaron Jones, H/T), Sanchez Ming (Josh Hill, 61), Will Wood, James Comley, Nana Owusu (Omari Hibbert, H/T),  Kreshniq Krasniqi, Quade Taylor, Temi Eweka, George Porter (Joe Felix, 68), Jayden Clarke (Johl Powell, 61), Ashley Nzala

Booked: Wood

Cray Wanderers: Shaun Rowley, Jephte Tanga, Jalen Jones, Sinn’kaye Christie, Harrison Sodje (Sam Wood, 61), Sam Skeffington (Cerny Ando, 61), Mitch Chapman, Ben Krauhaus (Anthony Cook, H/T), Michael Ademiluyi (Dan Bassett, 66), Nyren Clunis, Yahaya Bamba

Booked: Jones 

Referee: Lawrence Torz-Brown

Assistants: Jide Ogunba, Joseph Howard

Att: 381