Dulwich boss: We can’t afford to have a semi-professional approach

DULWICH 1
Mills 51
HAVANT & W 3
Magri 71 pen Tarbuck 82 Rutherford 90
BY MAX HALL AT CHAMPION HILLDulwich Hamlet’s players need to adopt a professional football mindset to achieve success in the semi-pro National League South, according to manager Gavin Rose.The Hamlet boss saw his side surrender a 51st-minute lead on Tuesday night as they shipped two goals in six second-half minutes and ended up losing 3-1 to Havant & Waterlooville.

Despite the help given the visitors by some contentious refereeing decisions, Rose said the victors could offer a template for success for his side.

“Watching Havant, there were a lot of clues to what we need to do to do well,” said Rose. “The majority of the team were quite mobile and they worked hard from minute one to the end of the game.

“They kept their shape throughout the game – they were very disciplined, and what their manager would have wanted then more often than not they gave.

“There was a level of consistency in the performance and we need to get to that point where we can get the players who are currently here, or players who can come in and help us, to get to that level. Our level of consistency needs to be a lot better if we are going to sustain a successful run in this league this year and the season after.

“[Havant have] got a good budget, we all know that and they’ve spent it well. But I feel like you don’t need ridiculous amounts of money, we just need to sign the right player and the player who still wants to sacrifice himself for the team to do well. That’s when you become a bit of a professional at this level, even thought it’s still semi-pro.

“You need to have professional mindsets to win this league. I don’t think you can have that semi-pro mindset. You need to be a little bit more superior in your preparation and that’s what I’m looking at – who did well last year and the year before and the year before that? Those teams are quite professional in their outlook.”

Havant turned the game in a calamitous second-half spell for the hosts on Tuesday, Wes Fogden going down in the area under a challenge from Dulwich left-back Aaron Barnes in the 76th minute.

Christian Smith sent Hamlet keeper Charlie Grainger the wrong way from the spot to wipe out Danny Mills’ opener for the hosts but Dulwich manager Rose was not convinced by the elaborate manner in which midfielder Fogden had gone to ground.

“He just didn’t even seem to think about,” said the Dulwich boss of referee Mathew Buonassisi, “He just automatically gave it, like it was a very impulsive decision. He didn’t even speak to the linesman.”

By that stage, Dulwich had already seen former AFC Wimbledon striker Danny Kedwell smack a penalty against the underside of the bar five minutes before the break, with team-mates Bradley Tarbuck and Fogden unable to follow-up. Rose conceded he had no complaints about that award, after Christian Smith made contact with Fogden.

And Hamlet were undone by a mazy run into the area by the Havant midfielder eight minutes from time which saw the ball break to Tarbuck, who finished low across Grainger. The stout Kedwell then showed great strength to hold off two markers from a Havant goal-kick in injury time before sending Alfie Rutherford between Jesse Debrah and Smith to finish off the hosts.

By that point it might have been 10 v nine with Havant’s Simon Walton only booked for an ugly-looking late challenge on Shamir Mullings and the Dulwich forward and Rutherford then both hurling opponents to the ground in separate incidents two minutes apart while themselves already on bookings.

“Some of his decisions throughout the game weren’t great,” said Rose, when pressed on referee Buonassisi’s performance. “He let a lot of things go that I didn’t think he should have, especially on an icy pitch.

“The tackle on Quade [Taylor] which means he can’t carry on the game, I thought was a red card. He lets it go with a yellow and we’ve lost a player.

“I think some of the referees are pretty much the guys we’ve had before but what I’ve noticed is the game’s quicker at this level and sometimes they can’t keep up. The game is probably a little bit slower in the Ryman Premier and it’s maybe easier for them to make better decisions.”

A first defeat of 2020 leaves Dulwich five points clear of the bottom two but having played a game more. Rose is confident his team would beat the drop.

“It’s not going to be a walk in the park, by any stretch, but I think we’ve got enough in the dressing room to keep our heads above water. We’ve got difficult games coming up but we’re more than capable of winning them. It will be a fight.”

Hamlet tomorrow visit a Dartford side occupying the seventh and final play-off spot with Rose expecting defender Marvin McCoy to be nearing a return and hoping to have the services of holding midfielder Taylor, who limped out at half time on Tuesday.

PICTURES BY JACK ADAMS


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