Dulwich Hamlet 3 v 2 Grays Athletic
GRAYS gave a good account of themselves but ultimately fell a little short in this Boxing Day Ryman Premier clash which saw the hosts maintain their promotion challenge.
The visitors gave a debut to on loan Southend United keeper Luke Chambers and he found himself busy in the early stages.
However, the first clear cut chance came when a through ball bisected the centre of the defence and home stopper Phil Wilson had to race from his line to clear under pressure.
The first Hamlet chance came as Kershaney Samuels cross picked out Nathaniel Pinney but his header was easily claimed by Chambers.
It was Grays who almost grabbed the lead as a Jeff Hammond shot was brilliantly tipped on to the post at full stretch by Wilson.
It was Dulwich who took the lead on 25 minutes as an Ellis Green cross was met by a fine header from Nyren Clunis that beat Chambers despairing dive.
The lead lasted for just six minutes as a through ball split the defence and Hammond finished emphatically past the onrushing Wilson.
Two minutes later Dulwich were back in front as another Ellis Green cross was volleyed home by the unmarked Erhun Oztumer.
The lead was not comfortable as Phil Wilson had to be at his best to keep out a shot from Ian Gayle and a free kick, whilst Peter Adeniyi then got back to thwart Hammond. Grays did suffer a blow when the impressive Perry Tamburini picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Alex Cruickshank three minutes before the break.
The second half opened with Dulwich looking to force the pace. Clunis forced a good save from Chambers as he superbly controlled a Green cross before turning and firing a shot backwards.
Dulwich got the third goal they craved on 56 minutes as an Oztumer shot was turned on to the post but Nathaniel Pinney followed in to claim his first goal in Hamlet colours.
A great move involving Xavier Vidal and Oztumer sent Clunis clear but his shot was blocked by the advancing Chambers.
Just as Dulwich seemed to have taken control of proceedings it was Grays who cut the deficit as Wilson came to the edge of the box to claim a through ball but lost the ball under pressure. The ball eventually broke to Joel Nouble who fired home.
With 15 minutes remaining Hammond hit a fine shot on the run but it flew wide. Wilson was forced into one last stop as the match entered stoppage time while Chambers then made a fine stop from a Billy Crook shot.