City will be hoping to build on Saturday’s deserved victory at Tonbridge when they welcome Dulwich Hamlet to Twerton Park on Tuesday evening.
The south London club have had an indifferent season so far and lie in 18th place which is a far cry from almost exactly twelve months ago when we travelled to Champion Hill and did well to escape with only a 3-0 defeat.
Our opponents finished that day in second place and looked a good tip for the title but from December onwards things went downhill and they only won one of their final twelve matches.
The drop in form may have cost Hamlet a playoff place, but tenth in the second tier of non-league was their highest league position for just over two decades. And off the pitch, the Club continue to build with their average attendance topping the National League South.
A freshening up of the squad over the summer helped them begin this campaign with a win and two draws before four successive losses saw Gavin Rose dismissed after 13 years in charge and replaced by Paul Barnes.
Their away form is rather better than at home and the two wins, at Cheshunt and St Albans, have come in their most recent trips. However, it is notable that of the five away matches where they have dropped points, four came at grounds where City have been victorious.
Hamlet won a dramatic derby against Hampton & Richmond on Saturday. They threw away a 2-0 lead after a red card on halftime but won the match with a 90th minute penalty. One of their scorers was Danny Mills who has netted ten goals against City for five different clubs and will be one to watch carefully on Tuesday.
Last season’s encounter at Twerton between the two clubs was played in April and ended goalless, which considering Jack Batten’s 15th minute red card, was seen as a point gained rather than two lost in our fight against relegation. But with goals at both ends of the pitch in nearly all of Hamlet’s games so far, such a score line looks unlikely this time.
This will be the sixth meeting between the two clubs at Twerton since 1980 when City’s FA Trophy dreams were dashed in a 3-1 defeat. We had to wait 38 years to settle that score with two wins in consecutive seasons, the second courtesy of a Tom Smith hat trick in 2020.