By Anthony Scales
Dulwich Hamlet ended their most barren run of the season in style on Tuesday, with a 4-2 win over Isthmian Premier rivals Harrow Borough in the London Senior Cup.
Having waited six weeks and five matches since their previous victory – against Folkestone Invicta on January 6 – Hamlet boss Gavin Rose dismissed suggestions the result could have a significance beyond the competition.
But Rose conceded a goal and assist in a lively performance from Reise Allassani could light the blue touchpaper on another goalscoring run for the former Crystal Palace prodigy.
“A player of Reise’s quality might have one or two games where he’s not great in front of goal, as he’s admitted, but we wouldn’t expect that to last too long,” said Rose. “He took his goal really well, looked a threat and possibly could have scored another, so you’d imagine that he’ll kick on again.”
There were grumblings from some fans among a sparse 221 crowd about
Allassani’s form since returning from injury – notably in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Enfield – but they did not last long.
It was the former Palace player who set the ball rolling on what became a comfortable victory for the hosts, a long ball downfield after a Harrow attack faltered showing how surprisingly effective a target-man the diminutive Allassani can be, the forward killing the ball with a perfect touch before spinning Howard Hall and thrashing the ball past Melvin Minter in the visitors’ goal in the 14th minute.
The dreadlocked hitman should have had an assist on the half hour when he slipped Nyren Clunis in on goal but the Dulwich wing-back found Minter’s feet.
Allassani did claim that assist two minutes later, again twisting the blood of the beleaguered Hall before being dragged down by Harrow skipper Shaun Preddie for Ashley Carew to bury a confident penalty.
The game was over as a contest six minutes before the break when a lovely three-man move down the right culminated in Clunis reaching the byline and pulling the ball back for Carew to hammer in his second from just a couple of yards nearer goal than his previous strike.
“We know that we’ve got goals in us as a group,” said Rose. “We’ve been a bit unfortunate in the way things have gone in the last four or five games.
“We should have scored more goals in those games and when you get a game when you don’t score and the result is negative, that has an effect on your mentality, but we know what we can do and we don’t start worrying too much as it’s a long season.”
The second half was a non-event until Kenny Beaney rammed home a fourth from the edge of the box in the 72nd minute, rifling home the loose ball after Minter had pushed away a fierce drive from substitute Nana Boakye-Yiadom.
It was Barrow who scored the goal of the night three minutes later, right wing-back George Moore battering an absolute screamer of a free-kick across Dulwich keeper Preston Edwards from 35 yards out.
Harrow substitute Anthony O’Connor put a gloss on the final score for the visitors in the first minute of injury-time as he ran onto a through ball that split a sleeping Dulwich defence and held off Beaney before firing past Edwards.
Clunis would have given the hosts the final say deep into added time but for two impressive saving tackles from Harrow sub Adam Pepera.
Rose was left to reflect on a positive performance that will have his side in good heart at Wingate & Finchley tomorrow, as well as securing a home semi-final against Combined Counties League Premier Division outfit Balham.
Carew and left wing-back Tanasheh Abrahams – back from injury after a three-month lay-off – were taken off as precautions after picking up slight knocks and Rose said there may be some transfer activity in the offing, but again emphasised the financial constraints upon him.
“We’re trying to get one or two in but obviously the club would have to be more aware of our overall financial situation, so precaution is always going to be the first priority for me and the club,” added the Hamlet manager. “If we can get players in then one or two might have to go the other way.”