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‘Tin hats on…let’s go’ – Dulwich Hamlet boss Hayrettin has no fear in National League South drop fight


Hakan Hayrettin was left frustrated after his Dulwich Hamlet side fought back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 against Oxford City on Saturday, only to concede a late equaliser and miss out on three vital points in their bid for National League South survival.

“We were better in the second half, we showed a bit more discipline,” said Hayrettin. “We were a little bit tense. They (Oxford City) play a [midfield] box. The two wide men dropping behind the front man, and the two midfielders behind them. We tried to play a formation to combat that, which we did.

“We weathered the storm and then in the second half we went for it. We managed to go 2-1 up, and rightly so as we were better than them in the second half. But then a bit of magic from (Klaidi) Lolos, and we’ll have to look at that because with 10 minutes to go…”

In the build up to Oxford’s opener, referee Lewis Sandoe waved away what appeared to be a foul on Joe Felix. Hayrettin was left bemused by the decision.

“It was right in front of me,” he said. “It was 100 per cent a foul. But if you talk about it and you’re going to get criticised. If you say the wrong thing you’re going to get fined. One million per cent that’s a foul, but we won’t get the points back for that.”

Picture: Rob Avis

Although visibly disappointed that his side were unable to hold on to the lead, the Hamlet boss spoke of his pride in representing the club.

“Today I’m so proud of my players, so proud of my staff. Even more proud of the supporters. It’s such a privilege for me to be manager of this football club, with over 3,000 supporters – I am a lucky man.”

Hayrettin gave debuts to new signings Deon Woodman, who joined on loan from QPR, and David Stephens, who joined on loan from Boreham Wood. With both being centre-backs, they were partnered together at the heart of the Dulwich defence.

“They did okay, considering that they’ve never played together,” said the Dulwich boss. “Dave Stephens has got bags of experience and Deon Woodman did ever so well on his debut.”

Hayrettin was asked whether their performance against a promotion-chasing team gave his side more confidence going into their next game against another promotion chaser in Dartford.

“We don’t fear anyone,” he said. “We’ve got to go and do our jobs. Tin hats on – let’s go.”


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