Late March 2023….Oh What a night!
We did it! We created history again in front of a new TRUK United record attendance of 542 despite the terrible conditions!
So we spent all day at TRUK HQ panicking that the game was going to be called off as the rain tipped from the sky…a sky containing planes that some of our players were on as over 30 players from all over the UK headed to Dulwich for a game of football! Thankfully the excellent Dulwich Hamlet FC pitch was in great condition although we guess the groundsman did not share our joy knowing that 2 hours of football was about to take place…
With everything in place our women’s team entered the arena to rapturous applause as we looked to at least better our result of last year when we lost 7-0. Looking across at the Dulwich team seeing that they had lots of first team players in their squad including Guyana international Hannah Baptiste we knew it was going to be a tough match and that Dulwich were out to make sure they got the victory. With only 2 minutes on the clock it was disaster for TRUK as Mia Wallace was adjudged to have brought down the Dulwich forward…we have to say we thought it was a harsh decision but with no VAR we had to accept the decision. Blair managed to get a hand on the well struck penalty but could not keep it out and we were 1-0 down. Now those in attendance last year may have thought that we would roll over like last year where we were 6-0 down at half time but that was not the case as we nearly equalised when Katja raced through from Lucy Clark’s flicked header and with just the keeper to beat we all waited for the net to bulge and the crowd to go crazy…sadly Katja dragged her shot wide and it stayed 1-0. Lucy Copsey then had a good chance but blasted over from 20 yards after great work from Oskia Summers. At the other end Blair Hamilton was called into action on a few occasions saving well from a couple of long range strikes. Half time came and we were 1-0 down.
The second half was an even affair but with both teams making changes neither team really created any clear cut chances although the game was far from boring as both teams had some good spells. The whistle blew and I think we earned the respect of Dulwich Hamlet Women who knew they had been in a tough game and we can hold our heads up high from our excellent performance where we really deserved a draw.
Full Time TRUK Women 0 Dulwich Hamlet Women 1
The women then gave the Men a guard of honour as they entered the field for the very first time. After the handshakes were done we were down to business and the buzz from the crowd made the occasion even more memorable and in the first couple of minutes they were cheering loudly as Frank Lamb made a fantastic save tipping the ball over the bar from a long range shot. Dulwich did take the lead which was then doubled as there understanding of each other was clear to see but TRUK were still playing some great football and were by no means out of the game. A dubious 3rd saw us go in at half time 3-0 down but having given a performance every player could be proud of.
Onto the 2nd half and again both teams had chances but it was Dulwich who were more clinical and they certainly had the bounce of the ball as it always seemed to drop perfectly for them! With TRUK making lots of changes Dulwich took advantage and extended their lead to 8-0 although at least one of these goals was clearly offside but sadly the flag didn’t go up.
Saying all this TRUK still made strides into the Dulwich half and in the last few minutes won a Free kick 25 yards out. The crowd held their breath and their was a buzz of confidence from those sitting on the bench…the ball was rolled to Parker Dunn who smashed the ball over the wall and it smacked of the crossbar bouncing down and into the back of the net! The celebration was worthy of the occasion and you would have thought there was 5 thousand people in the ground with the roar…the final whistle went shortly after and the players enjoyed the moment.
We headed to the packed bar and the buzz around the place was one that will leave in the memory of everyone who was in attendance.