Dulwich Hamlet bounced back from their 2-0 National League South defeat at Oxford City last weekend to defeat Welling United 3-1 at Champion Hill on Tuesday night and go through to the quarter-finals of the London FA Senior Cup.
Dulwich boss Gavin Rose gave debuts to academy graduates Jamal Abubakari, Alpha Diallo and Ned Bowker with another, Fikayo Atewologun, on the bench as the hosts came from a goal down in front of 719 fans in east Dulwich.
AJ Harris-Sealy was the star of the comeback with three assists but could have got his name on the scoresheet early on only for his fierce drive to crash back off the crossbar.
Harris-Sealy then set up James Dayton whose shot was blocked on the line.
Welling almost took advantage with Hamlet’s Jazzi Barnum-Bobb waiting to come back on after treatment for a facial injury. Referee Michael Chard failed to signal for a return to the pitch and Chi Ezennolim went down the Hamlet right where Barnum-Bobb would have been to play in Stefan Ilic who had only Charlie Grainger to beat, but the Dulwich stopper saved with his feet.
Welling then took the lead against the run of play in the 24th minute as Bradley Stevenson fired past Grainger from eighteen yards.
That goal boosted the Wings’ confidence and on-loan Millwall defender Arthur Penney sent in a cross that Ilic headed just wide.
Five minutes before half-time, Harris-Sealy was bundled over by Penney. Players from both sides seemed to stop waiting for a whistle, but it didn’t come and Harris-Sealy quickly got to his feet to cross for Chike Kandi who finished via a deflection to make it 1-1.
Welling almost went back into the lead before the break but Joe Muscatt’s shot was blocked and Ezennolim couldn’t put away the rebound.
Hamlet raced into a 3-1 lead inside four second-half minutes. Dayton’s brilliant pass found Harris-Sealy on the left and he fizzed in a low cross that was finished to the net by Kandi for his second.
Welling were then thankful goalkeeper Jack Sims didn’t see red after he took out Deon Moore ten yards outside the box, but the referee deemed the visitors had covering defenders. However, Welling weren’t spared full punishment as from the free-kick Sims spilled Harris-Sealy’s vicious strike and Abubakari was there to score on his debut and wheel away in delight.
Welling tried to respond and Stevenson tested Grainger from a free-kick before former Hamlet player Danny Carr curled wide from 20 yards.
Hamlet almost added a fourth as Kandi went close to completing a hat-trick. The striker took a long pass from Dayton on his chest before rounding Sims but his attempt from a tight angle was cleared.
Another ex-Hamlet player, full-back Aaron Barnes, came on as a substitute and sent a cross in from the right that Carr volleyed over the bar from close range.
A minute later, Stevenson surged through the middle to set up Barnes only for the defender to shoot wide of the near post.
Barnes was in the thick of the action for the away side and thirteen minutes from time he cut in from the right to find Oshane Stewart whose drilled effort hit the far post.
That was the last scare for Dulwich who went closest to adding to the scoreline but Harris-Sealy and Barnum-Bobb had late shots blocked in the penalty area.
Hamlet travel meet the winners of the Hendon and Balham second-round tie. The last-eight game will take place before February 5.
Rose’s side head to Brentwood Town in the second round of the FA Trophy this Saturday. Kick-off against the Isthmian League North Division side is 3pm.
Hamlet: 4-3-3: Grainger; Barnum-Bobb, Abubakari, Sterling, Blackman; Diallo (Bowker), Splatt, Dayton; Harris-Sealy, Kandi (McQueen), Moore.
Substitutes: Atewologun, McGregor.