BY MARK DOIG
Ring-rusty Dulwich Hamlet stumbled to a surprise derby defeat at home to Welling United.
Having not played since their FA Trophy game in mid-December they were second best against a team that had lost their last seven league and cup games. Had it not been for a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Charlie Grainger the scoreline would have been far heavier.
He made his first save in the opening minutes, diving to stop Kristian Campbell’s low shot before Dulwich had a half chance at the other end when Jordan Green screwed a shot wide.
Jordan Higgs had a shot deflected but Welling goalkeeper Jack Sims was watchful and tipped it over. Giovanni McGregor twice had chances with free-kicks, the first drifting wide of the far post and then he fired over. In between Darren McQueen was stopped by a double block by Welling defenders.
Mason Saunders-Henry had a 25-yard effort saved by Grainger before a Danny Mills overhead effort went wide at the other end. Ade Shokunbi shot well wide at the end of a cleverly worked Welling counter-attack before Millwall loanee Arthur Penney was in the right place at the right time to turn a Higgs shot around the post.
After the interval, and with the wind behind them, Dulwich would have expected to push on but it wasn’t to be. Akinyemi turned his defender down the right wing and burst away before his near post shot was beaten round the post by Grainger. Welling then hit the framework of the goal again when Grainger made a great save, tipping Saunders-Henry’s drive onto the bar and over.
Grainger made another brilliant save to thwart Joe Muscatt and it came as no surprise when Welling went ahead. Akinyemi got in behind and held off his man before firing home a shot with such venom that even Grainger couldn’t keep it out.
Dulwich responded with a series of over-hit long balls and crosses and only one centre from Quade Taylor was close to concerning Sims in the Welling goal.
Again Grainger was called into action when coming out to save superbly as Shokunbi broke free and he was called on to save once more from Akinyemi’s shot on the turn.
Although Deon Moore headed Andre Blackman cross onto the roof, as Dulwich threw men forward, Welling continued to look lively on the counter. Two Welling substitutes, Bradley Stevenson and Yannis Drais, combined well but the latter hit his shot wide when he might have finished the contest.
Then deep into injury time Shokunbi had one last chance but Blackman got back to clear off the line.
Other results meant that Dulwich retained sixth place in the league table while the three points won gave Welling a vital boost in their battle against the drop.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD & ROB AVIS
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