BY MAX HALL
Dulwich Hamlet manager Gavin Rose chose to emphasise the search for recruits to improve his side is ongoing, in the wake of an FA Cup victory that was not as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest.
Although the double promotion-winning manager said a listless second-half performance was down to a drop in standards by his players, he warned a repeat showing would have consequences.
“I just feel that mentally it shows a lot of weak minds to not work at your highest level, that’s something that, if I can’t change, we need to look at different personnel,” said Rose after watching his side – 2-0 up against 10-man opponents at half time – let the lower league visitors back into the game.
“We’ve managed to get a good list of contacts in professional football. We’re able to get players in, some could be for free and some could be for not much money,” said the Dulwich boss. “We’ve been speaking to a club in the last three weeks because we knew that we needed to improve. We’re just trying to get the right ones in, because you don’t want to bring a lad in who doesn’t get to play.”
With Nathan Ferguson having risen above a static Tonbridge defence to powerfully head home a Sanchez Ming corner in the 34thminute, and Nathan Green smashing home a loose ball in the area 10 minutes later, the hosts had a comfortable lead at the break. And with Tonbridge right-back James Folkes dismissed for his furious response to being denied what he considered a foul by Jay May moments before the second goal, it should have been done and dusted before the second period.
Although half-time substitute Iffy Allen and then Nyren Clunis had chances after the break for Dulwich, the hosts fell away badly and Sonny Miles punished their complacency in the 53rdminute. Tonbridge continued to threaten until substitute Dipo Akinyemi pounced three minutes from time to finally break the visitors’ resistance.
“We’ve played better in the National League South and not won games,” said Rose afterwards. “You’ve got to be careful that you don’t make too much of things, even when you’re not doing so well. We’ve played some really good teams off the park in the National League South and lost games – arguably, you could say the performances warranted playing at a better level even than that.
“Sometimes players don’t play to the level of their own standard. I think that’s the most important thing and that’s probably more true of what happened [against Tonbridge].”
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