BY DANIEL MARSH
Dulwich Hamlet soothed their National League South relegation fears with a convincing 2-0 victory over promotion candidates Dartford.
A bumper 2,779 crowd at Champion Hill saw goals in each half, from loanees Jamie Mascoll and Decarrey Sheriff, condemn the visitors to just their second defeat since the turn of the year.
This vital win moves Hamlet up to 16th in the standings with an eight-point cushion between themselves and the drop-zone. Gavin Rose’s side also have the cushion of a superior goal-difference.
Dulwich perhaps should have sealed the points earlier, after spurning numerous half-chances.
Dulwich boss Rose made four changes from the 5-2 defeat at Torquay United the previous weekend – Preston Edwards, Dipo Akinyemi, George Essuman and Nathan Ferguson all coming into the starting line-up.
Darren McQueen spurned an early close-range chance for Dartford in a scrappy opening before Nathan Green dragged a low effort wide for Hamlet soon after.
The hosts began to impose themselves on the game and they had their reward just before the half-hour mark. Ferguson, beginning to dictate play in the centre of the park, smartly found Nyren Clunis out wide. His devious cross to the far-post was finished with aplomb by the excellent Mascoll – the Charlton man producing a composed side-foot volley into the far corner on 27 minutes.
Dartford struggled to create going forward with Dulwich looking far more inventive, particularly out wide, as the first half fizzled out.
Dartford started the second half better, keeping possession and trying to create down the left-hand side. Some neat inter-changes of passing resulted in McQueen flashing a low drive which was deflected just wide of Edwards’ far post.
Akinyemi had a golden chance to double Hamlet’s advantage. Played in superbly by Luke Wanadio, his composure departed him as he blazed wildly over the bar from close-range.
Around the hour mark the visitors began to dictate proceedings without really testing Edwards, who commanded his penalty area well following multiple crosses from the left. Hamlet almost doubled their advantage against the run of play, Akinyemi failing to make the most of a poor back-pass from Tom Bonner.
Ben Greenhalgh was beginning to look menacing on the left-hand side for Dartford and his excellent half-volleyed ball in saw Phil Roberts’ close-range strike superbly pushed away by Edwards to preserve Hamlet’s lead.
Dartford had failed to fashion anything fluid going forward.
Their frustrating afternoon was perfectly summed up by the build-up to Dulwich’s second goal.
A defensive mix-up, involving two poor defensive headers saw Hamlet presented with a gift of a corner in the 90th minute – before Bonner and keeper Bailey Vose sensationally squared up to each other.
Dartford initially cleared the corner, but the ball was worked to Dominic Vose in space on the left. His intelligent square pass saw Michael Onovwigun’s strike spilled by the Darts keeper, the lurking Sheriff bundling the rebound home as all three substitutes made their mark.
Photos by Keith Gillard
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.