Academy depart FA Youth Cup wth honour
By Jim Rowe
Dulwich Hamlet go through by just the one goal
It was a brave effort by the Angels U19s Academy who were squeezed out of the FA Youth Cup at the 2nd qualifying round stage by just the single goal playing against a Dulwich Hamlet side with arguably more experience. But for a freak winning goal for the hosts there might well have been extra time with the final result ever more in the balance.
Playing at 'home' Hamlet made the expected strong start and were passing the ball to good effect although it was Angels who found the back of the net first, Ned Snowden-Lewis finishing well after being put through Saul Musenget only to be ruled offside. Dulwich then promptly opened the scoring through Breno Carmago Salvatierra in the 11th minute and at that point it looked like it could be a long night for the team in blue.
Despite continuing to forge out chances the hosts were continually thwarted either through their own poor finishing, good Angels defensive work, a superb performance by their goalkeeper Joe Roberts and even in three instances the woodwork. The visitors were largely restricted to breakaway moves which included a couple of chances for Musenget in both cases coming off worse after collisions with Hamlet keeper Maxwell Williams.
Half time arrived with still just the one goal in it, and although the second period started with Dulwich still in the ascendancy, Angels suddenly realized they were still very much in the game. The introduction of Josh Stirman, back from his trial at Leicester City unfortunately curtailed through injury, put a collective spring into the step of the visitors who started to put some meaningful possession together in the Dulwich final third.
That belief paid huge dividends in the 71st minute when Snowden-Lewis converted a Stirman cross past Maxwell to level things up. It was to prove a crucial two minutes. Straight from the restart Dulwich went on the offensive with Henry Adeniran put through and forcing yet another terrific save from Roberts. There followed a "What happens next Moment". Roberts placed the ball on the ground ready to clear forgetting that the momentum of Adeniran had meant that the centre forward was still behind him. Quick thinking by the Dulwich striker allowed him to quite literally and lawfully steal the ball away and place it into the empty net restoring Dulwich's goal advantage.
It was a bitter pill for the Angels to swallow and in particular Roberts who had played so well and at times kept them in the game. Credit Tonbridge who continued to keep themselves in contention and preventing Dulwich from making things reasonably safe for themselves. The game eventually finished with Angels pushing forward and Dulwich unable to keep any real period of possession, but that vital equalizer just wouldn't quite come.
Afterwards, Angels Academy joint manager Tom Parkinson said: "I thought we showed them too much respect in the first half but grew into the game second half and totally deserved our equalizer. It was to be honest a freak goal that won it for them and I feel really sorry for Joe who throughout the evening made some terrific saves. The boys are continuing to learn their football and are making excellent progress. On overall chances created and more possession Dulwich deserved to go through and I wish them luck in the next round."