DARTFORD 1 DULWICH HAMLET 1
Dartford’s return to Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park for the first time since the beginning of December, saw them come from behind to secure a point courtesy of a Jake Robinson strike.
A frustrating first forty-five saw the hosts trailing at the break, after Tyrone Sterling’s thirteenth minute strike. The goal came after Quade Taylor had managed to flick the ball into Sterling’s path from a Dulwich corner, enabling the latter to slot the ball beyond Dan Wilks.
Having opened the scoring from only their second corner, the visitors were then forced to make an early change after Deon Moore hobbled off to be replaced by Reise Allassani in the 18th minute. Five minutes later saw the visitors break into the box once again but, thankfully, Giovanni McGregor sent his strike sailing over Wilks’ crossbar.
As for the hosts, they actually started quite well and could have opened the scoring themselves as early as the fifth minute. The move split open the Dulwich defence with a terrific ball, which found Jake Robinson inside the box. He headed across Charlie Grainger’s goal towards birthday boy Ade Azeez, but an opposition defender managed to clear the threat.
However, due to the conditions, neither side seemed able to find a decent rhythm, as tackles flew in left, right and centre from both camps. Strangely the referee, Mr Ben Atkinson, appeared a little biased and took the names of Jack Jebb (7) and Noor Husin (35), while ignoring similar fouls by the visitors. Threatening to lose control of the game, Mr Atkinson then booked manager Steve King for being too vocal late in the half!
Undeterred, the hosts continued to press forward and came close in the 39th minute when Husin’s excellent strike from distance flew just wide of Grainger’s upright. Tyrique Hyde then shot over the crossbar after good work from Kalvin Kalala (43), before Jake Robinson forced a save from Grainger with an excellent volley (45).
The Darts began the second-half in a positive manner and created a great opportunity in the 54th minute, only for Kalala to guide his strike into the side-netting. Five minutes later saw the 1,345 supporters wonder how their side weren’t level, after Connor Essam’s bullet header was somehow cleared off the line.
By the hour mark, the game had opened up as both sides took advantage of the space on the pitch. With 69 minutes on the clock, a Jack Jebb free-kick was met by a towering Tom Bonner. But the skipper could only guide the ball into the safe hands of Grainger.
Dulwich retaliated with a good attack of their own seconds later, which saw them break into the Dartford box before calling for a possible penalty. Mr Atkinson waived away the appeals and the Darts counter-attacked in style. Breaching the defence, the ball was floated towards Robinson, who saw his initial effort saved well by Grainger. But, the goalkeeper didn’t keep the ball safe, and Robinson pounced instantly to head the rebound into the back of the net (71).
Former Dart Jazzi Barnum-Bobb received a yellow card for a foul on the impressive Noor Husin in the 79th minute, resulting in a free-kick in a dangerous position for the hosts. Jebb whipped the ball into the box, whereby mayhem occurred and a minimum of three Dartford players had a bite of the cherry. Yet, somehow Dulwich kept the ball out and it eventually fell to Essam who somehow couldn’t find the target from close range.
Dan Roberts entered the field to replace the goalscorer (Robinson) in the 82nd minute in what was Steve King’s final change in personnel. The previous two saw Luke Wanadio replace Kalvin Kalala (75) and Jordan Wynter come on for Tyrique Hyde (77). Yet, despite piling on the pressure in the latter stages, the hosts had to settle for a valuable point.
In hindsight, the result could have been worse if it hadn’t been for goalkeeper Dan Wilks. Because, after Tom Bonner was shown an 83rd minute yellow card, Dulwich got a lucky break minutes later and broke into the Dartford danger area. The ball was struck at goal from close range and, with bodies everywhere, Wilks pulled off a fine save to keep the score locked at 1-1!
The result sees Dartford’s winless run (in the league) stretch to four games. However, in a feisty contest which saw Noor Husin given the Man of The Match award, this was a hard-fought point that keeps the side’s unbeaten record at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park intact.
DARTFORD: Dan Wilks, Josh Clarke, Michael Kedman, Noor Husin, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner ©, Kalvin Kalala, Jack Jebb, Jake Robinson, Tyrique Hyde, Ade Azeez.
SUBSTITUTES: Jordan Wynter, Kieran Murtagh, George Porter, Dan Roberts, Luke Wanadio.
DULWICH HAMLET: Charlie Grainger, Quade Taylor, Andre Blackman, Michael Timlin, Jack Holland, Tyrone Sterling, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Jordan Higgs, Chike Kandi, Giovanni McGregor, Deon Moore.
SUBSTITUTES: Ned Bowker, Danny Mills, James Dayton, Reise Allassani, Jordan Green.
By Chris Palmer