A sunny but cold afternoon in Lewes, my local town, and the boys in a huddle. I wanted to write a review of the first football match i have seen in hundreds of years, sadly i was lacking in local knowledge. So i turned to http://theballisround.co.uk for a full round up and here it is.
We almost didn’t have a game at all. Despite the efforts of the pitch team it seemed that the perfect playing surface wasn’t good enough for the referee when he arrived at the ground at 1pm. He was “concerned” about a couple of areas of the pitch and ordered some sand. Do you know how difficult it is to find sand in Lewes, on a Saturday, at 1pm when you have a 15 minute deadline. Fortunately, Homebase had some sandpit sand that did the trick and we had a game. Lewes started brightly with the three central midfielders, Dixon, Walder and Logan pushed up the pitch to stop the dangerous Dulwich midfield having time on the ball. They weren’t hunting alone. Every time one of them got the ball, the three Rooks surrounded them, hassled them and unnerved them. Balls were played in behind the Dulwich full-backs thus stopping them getting forward. Pressure was put on Chico Ramos in the Dulwich goal when he had the ball as he didn’t like to kick the ball. All in the report lads.
Best chance of the first half fell to Blewden who saw his header hit the post. Half-time and all square. But that changed in the first 90 seconds of the second half. Wheeler’s corner was caught by Ramos, who inexplicably dropped the ball over the line under no pressure at all. Of course we went easy on Ramos for the rest of the half especially when ten minutes later he could only parry a Blewden shot that slowly trickled towards the empty net only for Adeniyi to make it back to clear. If the referee was proving unpopular with the players, benches and fans alike due to some strange decisions (over ruling his linesmen on numerous occasions when they were better placed) then the build up to the Lewes second goal with ten to play saw him removed from the Dulwich Hamlet Manager’s Christmas card list forever. Dulwich’s right-back Boyer left the pitch as part of a substitution but his replacement wasn’t quite ready. The ball went out of play but instead of now allowing the replacement full-back on, he waved play on. Lewes broke, Brinkhurst ran through the empty space, rounded Ramos and slotted the ball home. The Dulwich manager was incensed and play was held up for six minutes whilst he argued with the officials despite being sent off. At one point the referee and linesman retreated a good 20 yards from the bench and we feared he was going to abandon the game. Finally we were back underway. That lasted 30 seconds before he saw another offence that no one else did and booked a player from each side whilst everyone was scratching their heads. The second goal gave us some comfort as we played out the six minutes of injury time. Full time, job done.
One final word on the afternoon. Dulwich Hamlet’s fans came in numbers (about 150), saw their team under perform, but conquered with their non-stop singing and assisting in finishing the last barrels of beer in the club house. So in many ways, they were winners to. Hats of chaps and the best of luck for the rest of the season.
Louise and i really enjoyed the cut and thrust of the game, i tweeted that it was car thieves verses local tractor drivers, a little unfair and im sorry. Louise lived in Dulwich so her scarf was almost of two colours, me on the other hand wore my usual purple number. Im now a part owner of the Rooks, as they are known, and i have high hopes for Europe and the World Cup.