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‘Bump in the road’ – Dulwich boss won’t be turning on players after heavy loss to Farnborough in National League South


Paul Barnes has described Dulwich Hamlet’s 4-1 defeat to Farnborough on Saturday as a “bump in the road”.

The South Londoners were left shellshocked as their opponents scored all of their goals in the opening 45 minutes.

Mason Bloomfield netted twice and Jordan Norville-Williams converted a penalty – with Jonathan Page breaking the deadlock early on.

Danny Mills’ 86th-minute goal proved to just be a consolation for Hamlet, who are 16th in National League South.

Dulwich have taken 14 points from their last eight matches – a return which puts them fourth in a form guide over that period.

Barnes is adamant he will not over-react to the weekend’s setback.

“I said to the boys that we have definitely got to take a note of it, because we can’t afford for that to become a regular thing,” he told the South London Press. “But, as far as I’m concerned, it is a bump in the road. You don’t forget about the previous five months of work that people have put in, just for one really bad 45 minutes. You have to learn from it and take some lessons from it – but you quickly move on. We’re quite lucky we’ve got games thick and fast.

“It’s not something to dwell on. Straight away you get messages from other people in the game saying: ‘oh, you could do with this player or that player’. People really don’t know me if they think I’m going to throw people away after a bad 45 minutes -that’s not what I stand for.

“It is exactly the same players who got us into that good position who are going to get us out of that little blip which happened on Saturday.

“I was very disappointed. It wasn’t a true reflection of that group of players. Credit to Farnborough, they were very good as well.

“The second 45 minutes we showed character. At least the boys went and showed a little bit about what we’re truly about. We got on the football a lot more and tried to play incisive passes.

“Anything before that was too slow and nothing was done with real tempo or purpose. It was way below the standards we’d set previously.

“I told them at half-time that the game was done and it was about finding out what people are about. You find out more on their worst days then you will on their best days – because it is easy for people to roll up their sleeves and work hard when things are going well.

“When things aren’t going so well you find out which people are really invested. We’ve not got anyone who wants to shy away from responsibility. Ultimately that loss is on me. I could’ve been tactically better aware. They probably had our number on the day, which I’ll learn from – for sure.”

Dulwich head to local rivals Welling United on Saturday. The Wings, beaten 3-2 at Worthing on Saturday, are four points ahead but have played two more matches.

Barnes said: “It will be a good marker for where we’re at. Knowing Welling and seeing the squad they have put together – hearing what their aspirations are this year – you’d think they would be looking to be in and around the play-offs.

“If we can go there and take three points then it shows you that we’re a team that should be mixing it with teams that are up and around that part of the table. I’ve seen enough from my group and other teams in the table to know that we don’t need to really fear anyone. We’ve got to make sure we play our game.”

Josh Hill and Jamie Splatt have gone out on a month’s loan to Hemel Hempstead Town and Leatherhead Town respectively.

“I’m pretty happy with what I’ve been left with,” said Barnes. “I’m always working with the club, it’s about making sure you’re within the parameters of the financial structure.

“We’ve worked hard to get it where it needs to be off the pitch financially, so we’re not looking to do anything else. We’re looking to make sure the club is sustainable.”


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