This was a first visit to the Champion Hill Stadium, accompanied by my eldest son, to see National League South’s Dulwich Hamlet play. Dulwich Hamlet have the biggest average attendance this season, in the National League South, with an average of 2649 a game. That is a really impressive figure for a team, whose stadium only holds 3334 fans, at maximum capacity.
Dulwich Hamlet FC come into the game after a really positive season, sitting within the play off spots, in seventh place. Havant & Waterlooville FC sit back in twelfth place but, with a game in hand, could still make the play-offs with a decent run. Danny Mills has top scored this season for Dulwich Hamlet FC with ten league goals. Havant & Waterlooville’s Tommy Wright is their top scorer, this season, with seven goals.
Dulwich Hamlet moved into the Champion Hill Stadium in 1992. They had relocated, from a temporary spell sharing Tooting & Mitcham’s Imperial Fields Stadium, while the new ground was built. This was funded using money raised from the sale of their old training pitch to Sainsbury’s, who built their big Dog Kennel Hill store on the site. The ground boasts a big stand, which seats 500, a well maintained grass pitch as well as covered standing on two sides of the ground.
It was even for the first 25 minutes. Havant & Waterlooville’s Manny Duku had the first clear cut chance when he had a header cleared off line, from a corner, in the 26th minute.
The remainder of the half saw both sides playing mostly in midfield. Chances were few and far between. On 43 minutes Dulwich Hamlet had a goal ruled out as offside. That meant both teams went into the half time break with the game still goalless.
The second half opened, with the teams still locked as closely, as they had been before the break.
In 51st minute Manny Duku went through for the visitors to fire home and put them 0-1 ahead.
As the half went on Dulwich Hamlet became more cavalier, in attack, throwing men forward, but to no real avail.
Dulwich Hamlet’s last real throw of the dice, was bringing on top scorer, Danny Mills, in the 75th minute as a substitute. Sadly he lacked the quality passes needed to create goal scoring opportunities.
At the final whistle it was the visiting contingent of fans from Havant & Waterlooville who went away the happier. The crowd of 2,570 were entertained by a close fought game which the away side deservedly won 0-1.