By Ben Henderson
DULWICH HAMLET face their toughest test of the season at 3pm this Saturday as they travel to league leaders Woking.
The Laithwaite Community Stadium has been an impenetrable fortress for The Cardinals this season.
With Sky Sports and FIFA videogame commentator Martin Tyler as assistant manager, they have picked up maximum points from their four home games so far. This home form, combined with a highly respectable away record, has put them three points clear at the top of National League South.
Hamlet, on the other hand, have made a stuttering start to the season. Their style of football brings many compliments but that has not translated into points. Dulwich fans are beginning to tire of watching attractive play but returning home with nothing to show for it.
However, last week, they produced a spirited second-half display and scored through Anthony Cook to earn to draw from a goal behind against one of Woking’s promotion rivals Wealdstone.
Dulwich manager Gavin Rose praised his side’s performance after the break.
He told the News: “In the second half I felt we showed a lot more character. We were the more impressive team even before they scored. I thought on another day we might’ve been able to sneak the result.
“I thought the guys responded to what I spoke to them about at half-time and showed a lot of personality, a lot of character, and a lot of fight. Sometimes that’s all you need in order to give yourself a chance.
“I think that if we have that as a foundation right through the season, our quality will definitely show.”
Rose also had a word to say about the Dulwich fans.
“I thought the supporters were very good,” he said. “Second half they were making all sorts of noise just to get the boys going. They made the atmosphere fantastic.”
Dulwich fans will look forward to another viewing of new signings, Liam Nash and Iffy Allen.
Rose has backed them to produce the goods over the coming weeks.
“They did okay, there’s more to come from them,” Rose continued. “They’re both good players but [last Saturday] they were both lacking a bit of match fitness. They’ll take some time – maybe in the next two to three weeks you’ll start seeing a bit more from them. They’ll definitely help us.
“The fact that we can bring Nyren [Clunis] and Anthony off the bench gives us that bit more strength in depth. I think we have some real competition now.”
Rose also revealed he expects to further trim his squad. “There’s more changes to come but I think we need to get some out first.
“We had maybe six people training outside of the match-day sixteen this week and our club doesn’t have the budget to do that.
“Once we have got some out, be it on loan or permanent, then we’ll revisit things and try and get in maybe one or two more.”
Despite last weekend’s positive result, Dulwich will have to pull off a significant upset if they are to return to south London with anything tangible.