By Simeon Wright
Gavin Rose wants Dulwich Hamlet to start turning league draws into wins after last Saturday’s 2-2 stalemate against Weymouth left the side in fourteenth place in National League South.
Speaking immediately after the game, Rose praised his team’s performance against sixth-place Weymouth.
“I think we played a good opponent, so I don’t think we should take it for granted,” Rose said.
“It was an encouraging performance and if we can play at that level and above we’ll be on the right path.”
The Hamlet took a 1-0 lead when a defensive mix-up allowed Connor Hunte to stroke the ball into the empty net, but the Dorset visitors turned the game around either side of the half-time break through goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Yemi Odubade.
Still searching for a first league win since August, Rose opted for a three-man central defence and encouraged wing-backs Aaron Barnes and Jack Connors to get forward regularly.
Rose added: “I thought we caused Weymouth some problems with the back three.
“Quade [Taylor], Smudge [Marvin McCoy] and Christian [Smith] did well, so it’s something that we definitely would do again”
It was Smith in the 56th minute who poked the equaliser past onrushing Weymouth goalkeeper Calum Ward, after receiving an inviting dinked pass from Dominic Vose.
Another positive for the Hamlet manager was Hunte’s display. He impressed as a lively and creative spark between the midfield and frontline.
“I was so happy he took his goal so well and I think there’s more to come from him,” Rose continued.
“Connor can excite people. He can run with the ball, he’s got a lot of individual ability and we encourage him to get on the ball and hurt people.”
Dulwich travel to National League South rivals Havant & Waterlooville this Saturday with a place in the FA Cup first round at stake. The Hamlet haven’t reached that stage since 1998.
Rose was going to reflect on his side’s latest league game before turning his attention to that huge cup contest.
He continued: “Right now my focus is on [the Weymouth game], because I have to think about how we can start getting those draws into wins, which ain’t easy.
“I think we’ll have a reflection on [Saturday], on the performance, then on Monday and Tuesday we start focusing on Havant.
“Everyone dreams about getting to the first round, second round, third round, of course we do, and I do as well, but I think we’d best pay respect to Havant and worry about them first.”
Top scorer Danny Mills captained the Hamlet against Weymouth, but endured a frustrating afternoon, as did in-form strike partner Ade Yusuff.
But the manager was satisfied with his two strikers’ efforts.
“They had to work really hard and sacrifice themselves for the team,” Rose explained.
“At times it can be a thankless task but they were both honest and worked really hard.”
On Mills, Rose added: “There were times we got into wide areas and didn’t cross the ball enough for him. That’s not really Danny’s fault, that’s down to the chaps outside of the box who are crossing it.
“But as time goes on, I’m sure they’ll recognise that.”