Football: Grays Ath empty handed in full blooded encounter

Ryman Premier

Grays Athletic 1 v 2 Dulwich Hamlet

GRAYS Athletic lost a thrilling and ill-tempered encounter at the Mill Field on Saturday afternoon.

It will be interesting to see what the officials think of conduct of not only the players but also the management. Two of the Dulwich Hamlet management were sent to the stands after a constant diet of foul and abusive language.

Strangely enough the game started fairly tamely and the league leaders found it hard to get into their rhythm.

Grays first task was to see how they would cope without top scorer Dumebi Dumaka and throughout the game they coped quite well.

Dulwich looked like a team at the top as they were very swift in attack but didn’t have the final touch for a long period of the game.

Joao Carlos looked lively early on and was clearly irritating defender Mitchell Nelson.

Dulwich were being given far too much space by the Grays defender as they played neat one-twos.

Carlos should have scored in the eighth minute when Luke Ifill produced a great twenty yard cross. Carlos got past both a defender and the keeper but his shot was headed off the line.

Both teams were struggling with the bobbly surface.

Dulwich conceded a penalty in the 19th minute when Carlos was bundled over in the box but Harry Agombar’s spot kick was very weak and it went straight at keeper Phil Wilson.

But Grays did not let their heads go down and continued to enjoy the majority of the play. Mitchell Nelson went into the book for a foul on Carlos.

Hamlet’s first real shot at goal came in the 28th minute through a free kick which Lamar Johnson saved well.

Dulwich were quite prepared to hustle and harry for a point or three. A free kick on the edge of the box went into the wall as Grays stood tall.

Hamlet’s first piece of action in the second half was a free kick that drifted over the bar and away. Dean McDonald looked nippy but they really hadn’t got into their stride.

McDonald hit the post in the 52nd minute as if to signal his intent. And sure enough he pounced on a Grays Ath mistake to slip the ball in and score in the 55th minute.

Harry Agombar has struggled to get into the game but he managed hit the post in the 58th minute.

But Grays stuck to their task and in the 67th minute got a very lucky break when they were given a penalty when it appeared that the Dulwich defender got the ball cleanly in a tackle.

Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson scored from the spot.

The game descended into chaos. Dulwich players had protested vehemently regarding the decision and after Grays scored they did not stop. Ashley Carew was sent off. We believe he raised his hands towards the referee. Time will tell whether the referee’ assessor saw it that way.

The game was set up for a full blooded final fifteen minutes but Dulwich Hamlet had lost their rhythm. Grays found it hard to punish them and as the atmosphere became increasingly bitter, you wondered if the Grays players were letting it get to them.

But this was a resolute Dulwich who clearly do not give up. In the 90th minute, they scored after a Damian Scannell free kick floated over two Grays defenders and in.

Dulwich went mad. There was something about this victory that may well define Dulwich Hamlet’s season. An indomitable spirit, even when everything seems to be going against them.

For Grays, there were number of hard lessons learned here.

Grays Ath: Johnson L, Ifil L, Siva J, Leader J, Cronin S, Carlos J, Fortnam-Tomlinson B, Agyemang M, Beaney K, Bloomfield M (Addai A, 60)

Agombar H ( Bentley M 70)

Subs not used: Hutchins J, Cummings T, Davidson C

Dulwich Hamlet

Wilson P, Nelson M, Brown J, Waldren D, Drage M, Pinnock E, Clovis N, Carew A, Moss R, Scannal D , Murrell-Williamson R, McDonald DHibbert J

Subs not used: , Clarke J, James K, Dixon J

Referee: Paul Cox

Att: 254

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