Non-league round-up: Dulwich boss hails huge support while Tooting book Surrey Senior Cup final spot


Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose has hailed the magnificent season’s best crowd which willed his team to battle back from 2-0 down to salvage a point on Saturday, writes Yann Tear.

A total of 3,243 packed into Champion Hill to watch his side grab a point at the death to edge closer to survival in National League South.

It looked as if Hamlet were heading for defeat at the hands of play-off contenders Billericay Town, when they trailed to goals from Joe Kizzi and Moses Emmanuel before the interval.

But with 10 minutes to go, Dipo Akinyemi converted a penalty, and with the game in its final minute, Billericay defender Lloyd Doyley appeared to get the decisive touch to a cross aimed at Magnus Okuonghae to once again raise the roof at Champion Hill.

There were echoes of the late winner they scored five minutes from time in their previous home match against Truro City.

Dulwich remain four points above the drop zone, with four other teams below them hovering just above the cut-off line.

Dulwich Hamlet v Billericay Town, Vanarama National League South, Champion Hill, 30 March 2019.  Photograph by Keith Gillard

They travel to mid-table Chippenham Town tomorrow before their penultimate home game of the season against one of the teams below them – Hungerford Town.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” Rose told the South London Press.

“The crowd was large as there’s a little bit of rivalry between the two clubs because we went head to head in the battle for promotion last season, but it’s also a case of getting bigger crowds again as people get back to the familiar routines they had before we had to move to Tooting for a few months.

“People came out in their droves and played their part. We need to fight for every point and the fans can help us get over the line, as they did on Saturday. If we can get wins in our last two home games, it lightens the load for us over the last few games.

“Some people thought it crazy to take on this job a while ago but this was everything I envisaged.

“The supporters were great but the mentality of the guys was also vital. They showed a lot of courage and fight and were willing to dig deeper when they were 2-0 down. They deserve great credit.

“We were very aggressive in showing that never-say-die attitude and kept pushing until the end.

“We need to take some of that resilience with us on the road because it’s been a long time without an away win and we could do with one this weekend to make the end of the season more comfortable.”

The draw with Billericay extended Dulwich’s mini unbeaten home run to five matches, which is proving crucial, given that they have gone 14 away games without a win – last tasting success back in October at Hungerford.

The appetite to watch them meant Hamlet were able to claim the fourth biggest non-league crowd of the day at the weekend. Only the National League gates at Stockport County, Chesterfield and Barnet were higher.

Tooting & Mitcham have reached their first Surrey Senior Cup final since 2007 after beating Banstead 1-0 on Tuesday night.

They will face the winners of Met Police-Walton Casuals, who meet next week.

The decisive moment came when Danny Bassett was taken down from behind in the Banstead box and then stepped up to score from the spot.

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