DULWICH HAMLET 1 DARTFORD 2
Super-sub Charlie Sheringham struck late again, as Dartford came from behind to win at Dulwich Hamlet on a beautiful October afternoon.
However, the Darts started rather slowly on this occasion and found themselves behind after just six minutes. After the hosts won the ball in the midfield, they managed to break into a swift attack along their right-flank via Kreshnic Krasniqi. He managed to beat Kristian Campbell and get a dangerous cross into the danger area for Nana Owusu to strike beyond Joe Young.
The visitors responded, and responded well. As Samir Carruthers found Jack Smith with a delightful ball, which set up the loanee perfectly. Smith pulled the trigger, only to see his effort rebound back off the crossbar straight into the path of Davide Rodari… The Dartford number eleven connected well with a great header, but the ball somehow flew the wrong side of the far post (11)!
Despite the hosts looking the liveliest of the two sides during this half, they created very little meaningful opportunities. In fact, it was the Darts who came close twice in quick succession after 24 minutes via the ever-reliable Carruthers. First, his corner somehow found the top of Charlie Grainger’s crossbar, before the midfield maestro forced the goalkeeper to punch clear his curling free-kick seconds later.
When the hosts did eventually get a sniff of a chance, however, the alert Connor Essam was there to pull off a good old-fashioned crunching challenge (his words, not mine!) to prevent his side from going two goals down (38).
The momentum of the game then swung towards the Darts when, on the stroke of half-time, Dulwich Hamlet’s hero became the villain. As Marvin Herschel turned and raced into the Hamlet box, Nana Owusu floored the Dartford youngster and Mr Matthew Norton pointed to the spot. Up stepped Carruthers, as cool as you like, to pull the Darts level (45).
The start of the second-half saw Alan Dowson swap Davide Rodari with Alex Wall. This would be followed by further changes, as Charlie Sheringham replaced Jack Smith (76) and Pierre Fonkeu came on for Marvin Herschel late on (86).
Meanwhile, the hosts would swap Kreshnic Krasniqi with Jayden Clarke (59) and Ashley Nzala replaced Jamie Splatt (85).
As the second forty-five progressed, goal-scoring opportunities proved to be in short supply. With the majority of play taking place in the middle of the pitch, the game seemed to be a little stop/start. Yet, the Darts looked to be in control and comfortable. Equally, the hosts weren’t giving anything away either, and were doubling-up with marking Marvin Herschel in an attempt to stop the youngster from exploiting his natural ability and pace.
However, Herschel did get beyond his man in the 83rd minute to force a corner. Teammate Carruthers swung it into the box, and there was the leap by Charlie Sheringham to send a powerful header into the back of the net (84)…just eight minutes after coming on to replace Jack Smith!
The home section of the 3,334 crowd were stunned, as was their team. Yet, they had one last throw of the dice as the game approached the 90th minute. Debutant, Ashley Nzala managed to race through and get himself one-on-one with Joe Young, only for a superb challenge by Kristian Campbell prevent the Dulwich player from testing the goalkeeper.
And, so Dartford returned to Kent with another hard-fought victory, their fifth in a row. The result means that Tom Bonner and Co remain firmly in contention for the top three positions in the National League South table.
DULWICH HAMLET: Charlie Grainger, Will Wood, Jack Holland (c), Frankie Raymond, Danny Mills, Nana Owusu, George Porter, Jamie Splatt, Joe Felix, Ronnie Vint, Kreshnic Krasniqi.
SUBSTITUTES: Joe Osaghae, Quade Taylor, Andre Blackman, Jayden Clarke, Ashley Nzala.
DARTFORD: Joe Young, Jordan Wynter, Kristian Campbell, Samir Carruthers, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner (c), Keiran Murtagh, Davide Rodari, Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Marvin Herschel.
SUBSTITUTES: Luke Allen, Alex Wall Tom Wray, Pierre Fonkeu, Charlie Sheringham.
By Chris Palmer