In front of a 3,334 capacity crowd at a noisy and enthralled Champion Hill, the Sports had fallen behind on the stroke of half-time, and a pulsating second half saw Hamlet cling on to that lead until the 80th minute – when the unstoppable front three of Gravata, Remy and Walker turned the game around.
Danny Bloor’s line-up had a settled look: Worgan behind a back four of Scarlett, Burchell, Dickenson and Innocent; Hammond and Bendle anchoring midfield; and Remy and Gravata in the wide positions with Luer and Walker through the middle.
Hamlet must groan at the sight of Shiloh. In the reverse fixture, way back on August Bank Holiday, the SO Legal Community Stadium was left open-mouthed when, as an 88th minute substitute, he claimed that game for Borough. Here’s a snippet of our club report on that game…
“…As the clock was just ticking past ninety minutes, Kai Innocent burst forward up the left touchline and found Shiloh, who checked infield and into the Dulwich area. Slight build, lightning pace, magical close footwork. Four touches. Three opponents left for dead.– and a perfect curling finish into the top right corner. It was like watching the Starship Enterprise in galactic orbit.
Dulwich were dumbstruck. And Borough went absolutely barmy. It was a fabulous way to end any football match, and the Sports had claimed the three points.”
This time, at Champion Hill, Hamlet had the full ninety minutes to try to contain Borough’s quicksilver attacker – and his equally slick and inventive teammates. But the Sports at present are full of football – and equally full of belief – and on this form, they are a match for any opponent in National South.
The victory sees Borough tucked nicely in the chasing pack behind Ebbsfleet and Dartford – who themselves were beaten on Saturday at Worthing. But there will be plenty of time for league tables and marginal arithmetic later in the season. For the moment, Danny’s side are just enjoying their football.
The first forty-five minutes had been pretty even, with no lack of action, under the alert control of top referee Kirsty Dowle. Remy saw an early attempt saved, and then, as the play swayed back and forth, Greg Luer broke one on one but was denied by a brilliant Grainger save.
On the half-hour, the Sports had two chances in a minute, Shiloh shooting just wide from a sleek move and then Leone was thwarted by the excellent Grainger after another fluent attack.
Spectators were really absorbed by a fine half of football, deserving better than a goalless scoreline – but it didn’t quite stay goalless. George Porter squeezed his way through the right channel and whacked a super shot across Worgan and spinning into the net off the far post.
It was harsh on the Sports, but they came out for the second half like Formula One drivers revving on the grid. In truth there was a narrow escape for Worgan’s goal when Kai just prevented a strike by Danny Mills – who always scores against Borough (except this time…). But otherwise, the boys in red were really on the front foot. Gravata saw a cracking shot saved and Alfie Bendle – another excellent shift from him – struck one wide.
Dulwich were not dozing though, and the excellent pair of Burchell and Dickenson were often at full stretch – but never snapped. It was the sort of afternoon, too, for full-backs to be flying down touchlines, and Innocent and Scarlett – later replaced by new loanee Ryan Bartley – were involved again and again. Hammond and Perez – on for Luer – formed a great pairing in the middle of the park, but there was no breakthrough.
Norman Wabo brought fresh impetus up front and the Sports were still pressing – but would time run out on them? Ten minutes for Hamlet to hang on – or even extend their lead. Ten minutes that last for ever when you’re defending a lead – but ten minutes that vanish into the black night when you need an equaliser.
Step up, Charlie Walker. The Borough skipper carved a pathway through midfield and found Remy on the right, whose deft ball into the box was met by Gravata’s triumphant strike for 1-1.
Phew. A fair reward. Settle for the draw, then, lads? Not a chance. The next goal was even better, Remy’s pace and alertness getting him on the end of a ball from the right and fizzing it past Grainger from outside the penalty area. 2-1.
And Charlie saved the best for last, screaming an unstoppable volley from another right-wing assist, to 3,300 collective Hamlet groans and a few dozen Eastbourne whoops of joy. What a match. What a team.
Borough: Worgan; Scarlett (Bartley 74), Burchell, Dicjenson, Innocent; Hammond, Bendle (Wabo 74); Remy, Walker, Gravata; Luer (Perez40)
Unused subs: Holter, Holman Borough Player of the Match: Impossible to choose, fantastic Team performance
Referee: Kirsty Dowle Att: 3,334