Ladell’s leap propels determined display

WATFORD IFC brushed aside the set-back of an early opposition goal to win through 5-2 against the visitors from Dulwich Hamlet FC’s supporters team, in the first meeting of the two teams since 2012.

Matt Ladell’s second overhead kick of the calendar year was the goalscoring highlight for the hosts, who weathered some late withdrawals from the squad to push through and claim victory with just 12 available – and three of those 50-year-olds deployed within the defensive unit.

One behind from a set-piece within two minutes that player-manager Richard Walker in goal could have done better to prevent, the Hornets levelled through makeshift striker Tom Labbett before too long, and found their feet at Callowland Rec – chosen especially for DHFC’s return train journey back to Champion Hill – when Adam Gallichan tapped home from Labbett junior’s low centre.

Walker’s point-blank save from another Dulwich chance allowed centre-half Ladell – with father Jerry watching on in amazement, linesman’s flag in hand – to convert the first of his brace with a glancing header from a free-kick to secure at 3-1 interval lead.

Several determined displays augmented Watford’s relatively comfortable second half; most notably the industrious Alan Lau and the always-assured Frank Smith in central midfield.

Gallichan put the result beyond doubt half-way through the second 45 when he capitalised on some lax Hamlet defending – but the spirited visitors kept coming and a deflection which looped onto the crossbar gave them renewed hope.

That was extinguished when Ladell’s flipped in mid-air to score the Hornets’ fifth with eight minutes remaining. Dulwich’s second, curled into the top corner, came just before full-time.

Thanks to Minibus maestro Kev Andrews for refereeing and to Ladell snr for picking up the flag duties.

It was a pleasure to welcome Dulwich for the game, and we hope to make the return journey later in the season.

Hornets: R Walker; Ainsley, Ladell, Salvidge, P Labbett; Lau, Smith, Moss, Kidby; T Labbett, Gallichan. Sub used: Sperinck.

Goalscorers: Ladell x 2, Gallichan x 2, T Labbett.

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