My turf accountant, stepping from the battered Cortina that he keeps for driving from his palatial Surrey spread, was in no doubt about the outcome of this game.

No matter that Walton had scored a miserly two goals all season, all of them in an August curtain raiser against Ashford Town, only Folkestone and Worthing's more porous defences keeping them from propping up the table.

No matter that they had been dumped out of the Isthmian League Cup in midweek to First Division strugglers, the team formerly represented by the Thin Blue Line, Met Police, less than twenty four hours after their talismanic manager, Alan Dowson had tendered his resignation to end a decade long association with the suburban Swans.

"No", as he puffed on a large Cuban, "Walton, Premier Division, odds on favourites".

Scratching a few coppers from the fluff infested recesses of my pockets, I gleefully flung them across the counter, convinced the odds of 5/2 would surely buy me a fish supper if not send a grateful niece or nephew to Eton or Benenden. How those greedy thoughts clouded my mind.

For too long Stompond Lane has been the funeral pyre open which Dulwich hopes of glory in various cups have been torched, then scattered to the winds.

Once again my bookie was right. Despite running this game Dulwich could not turn their dominance into a victory as chance after chance went begging.

The shot stats told it all. Both sides a trio of efforts on target, Walton's all finding their target, Hamlet denied either by Nick Gindre's agility or the woodwork.

Off target and the tale of woe deepened, nine times a Hamlet opportunity failed to find its mark.

Unchanged from victory at Walton Casuals bar the returning Chris Lewington between the sticks, Dulwich were never in awe of their higher division opponents.

The Swans' defence flapped nervously in the face of a wave of Pink and Blue, Luke Cornwall, Chris Dickson, Phil Williams all revelling in the space given them as the Walton rearguard quivered before them.

Were the finishing better the game might have been over as a contest long before the Hamlet allowed it to slip from their grasp.

Cornwall's determination not to lose possession on the edge of the box came close to paying dividends as a fierce low strike was tipped behind at the base of his post by a diving Gindre.

Injury to Gavin Cartwright was soon to weaken the home defence further as the hamstrung centre-half was withdrawn on the quarter-hour.

Moments later an excellent worked moved almost brought about the breakthrough but in a goalmouth mle, Swans skipper Wes Goggins played a leading role blocking the ball on the line.

Still Hamlet came, a lob over the top, Dickson waiting whilst the two centre-halves came for but missed the ball, then a stunning volley matched in its beauty by a flying save from Gindre, leaping to his right to fingertip the strike away.

A speculative free kick from Byron Brown, buzzing across the bumpy turf, skidded wide of Lewington's right upright as a rare attack briefly ignited the sparse home turn out.

Normal service resumed as Dickson popped over a cracking cross to pick out Cornwall, only for the header to rise over the crossbar.

A excellent Williams' run opened a cavity of the Walton left flank, but having done the hard work, the ball bobbled away from the flying Dulwich winger, a tame shot failing to extend Gindre.

As half time drew ever closer, Walton winger Ben Thorne finally got the better of the Hamlet defence, haring away down the right side and banging over a cross that should have been crowned with the afternoon's opener.

Instead Eben Allen, usually so deadly from inside the six yard box, rose to flick his back post header wide of the gaping goal. Synchronicity then when Cornwall did likewise soon after, meeting Kenny Beaney's corner at the near post only to flick his header across the face of goal.

The dressing rooms were beckoning when, as if to stab a dagger in the heart of Hamlet hopes, Walton broke away in the second minute of stoppage time to grab an unlikely goal.

Caught cold as Walton launched a counter raid from a Dulwich corner, the Hamlet were left chasing shadows as Goggins released Louis Clark rampaging on the right wing.

Whipping the ball across the area, he found the incoming Thorne, bursting into the area like a whippet to meet the cross and hammer his side into a rather undeserved lead.

The goal provided a shot of inspiration for the hosts and they were unfortunate not to extend their lead with the second half barely five minutes old.

Brown's free kick, driven into the heart of the danger area, reached Allen, the former Hamlet striker denied by Lewington's brave save, then substitute Martin Dunne rattling the crossbar as he latched on to the loose ball.

Powerful running from Dickson, driving to the goal line, produced a dangerous cross, the vital interception of Dunne flicking the ball away from the inrushing Cornwall.

Still in overdrive, Hamlet attacked again, this time it was David Moore with a low drive from outside the box to test Gindre.

Walton hit back, Clark and Thorne combining to allow the latter to batter the ball into the near post where Allen was arriving only to stab a volley wide.

60 seconds later and Brown clattered late into Gavin Dayes, sending the Hamlet defender spinning to the ground.

Much to the culprit's shock, referee Mr Biddulph instantly brandished a red card.

If Dulwich thought this might give them the upper hand, they were soon in for a rude awakening, for the perceived injustice of the dismissal seemed to galvanise the Swans even when Dulwich added a attacking edge in the shape of the lightning quick Eniola Oluwa replacing defender Nicolas Plumain.

A long range free kick from Beaney whistled wide of the target, before Dickson was denied an equaliser in the cruellest of fashions, outpacing the defence, rolling the ball past an advancing Gindre from the tightest of angles, only to watch in agony as Will Jenkins somehow got back to stop the ball on the cusp of entering the net.

The ten men were steeled by their fortune and once again Thorne went raiding, denied as he burst into the box by Dayes' inch perfect tackle that had more myopic members of the home bench crying out for a penalty.

Not that it mattered for from the corner Walton kept the pressure on, a deep cross nodded back across goal to the waiting Allen and this time the forward made no mistake as he rose highest to nod the ball home.

As the Hamlet's hopes began to evaporate, Walton steeled themselves, repulsing attacks then with six minutes on the clock claiming the goal that would rubberstamp their passage to the next round.

Fitting then that it would be skipper Goggins, for the Swans' skipper had led his beleaguered charges like a lion.

Lurking in space on the Dulwich right flank, he latched on to Clark's arching pass before heading inexorably through on goal and smacking the ball past Lewington.

This should have provided the final deflation for the Hamlet but even in the face of an insurmountable deficit, they refused to lie down and die, putting the home defence under siege for the final few minutes.

However the best they could show for their efforts was a steaming drive from substitute Sol Pinnock that rattled away off the top of the crossbar.

My bookmaker will dine on caviar from crystal plates once more, the soup kitchen at Waterloo beckons for your humble scribe.

DHFC: Chris Lewington; Jason Turley (Capt); Nicolas Plumain (Eniola Oluwa 68); Daniel Nwanze; Gavin Dayes; Lewis Tozer; David Moore; Kenny Beaney; Luke Cornwall (Sol Pinnock 83); Chris Dickson; Phil Williams (Daniel Jones 78) Subs not used: Cedric Meeko; Danny Moore Attendance: 142 Officials: Referee: Mr A Biddulph Assistant Referees: Mr G M J Parsons & Mr S J Finch Goal Scoring: 1-0 W&HFC Ben Thorne 45th minute 2-0 W&HFC Eben Allen 74th minute 3-0 W&HFC Wes Goggins 84th minute The Naughty Boys: Gavin Dayes (DHFC) Caution 54th minutes Byron Brown (W&HFC), Dismissal 61st minute Simon Huckle (W&HFC) Caution 67th minute David Moore (DHFC) Caution 70th minute Michael Murphy (W&HFC) Caution 88th minute.