Dulwich Hamlet earned a deserved 3-1 victory in a hard-fought Ryman Isthmian Premier League fixture against Staines Town on Tuesday night.
Goals from Dumebi Dumaka, Vas Karagiannis and Nyren Clunis put the gloss on a feisty encounter which saw Dulwich captain Kenny Beaney forced off with a badly bloodied ear, and the culprit, Staines captain Tommy Brewer, given his marching orders for leading with an elbow.
Staines, who were looking to avoid a fourth successive league defeat, set the early pace in front of a crowd of 598 at Champion Hill as Dulwich struggled to find their rhythm.
It was, however, the home side who took the lead after 20 minutes – the two Maidstone United loanees linking up as Karagiannis fed a perfectly weighted through ball to Dumaka who cut inside to lose his marker and slot the ball into the bottom-right corner of Jack Turner’s goal.
Unfortunately for Dulwich, Dumaka’s two month loan spell is now at an end and the striker is due to return to his parent club. Dulwich remain hopeful they can extend a successful stay which has yielded seven goals in 12 appearances.
Dulwich’s lead was only to last three minutes when Staines broke away following a Hamlet corner. Returning midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo was left exposed at the back with a ball threaded through to Mohamed Bettamer who rifled his shot off the underside of the crossbar to make it 1-1.
A minute later Dulwich almost regained the lead when a cross from the left sat up perfectly for Karagiannis whose overhead kick was struck cleanly but straight into the arms of Turner in the Staines goal.
Dulwich survived a scare 20 seconds into the second half when Adrian Clifton cannoned a shot off the top of the bar, but it was man-of-the-match Karigiannis who restored their lead. Felled as he dribbled into the box, he duly picked himself up to slot home the penalty.
A tactical reshuffle in the second half freed Nyren Clunis from the wing-back role he has occupied in recent weeks to join the left side of the attacking trio in Rose’s 3-4-3. The switch led to the winger notching his ninth goal of the season when a cross from the byline from Gavin Tomlin landed perfectly at his feet for a tap in.
In the second minute of injury time, Dulwich had an opportunity to put a cherry on the icing of the cake when Gavin Tomlin was brought down in the box, but Ash Carew’s spotkick was well saved by Turner.
The result leaves Dulwich fourth in the table having played at least two more games than all their nearest rivals.
“Our job is to win games and ask question of those around us,” said Rose after the match. “We can’t focus too much on the league table right now.
“Our season has been average so far, but the business end is approaching. We’ll keep ploughing away.”