Hampton & Richmond 2–1 Dulwich Hamlet
It was a robust affair at the Beveree stadium as Dulwich took on Hampton and Richmond in an all-London clash.
After both teams flew into the first half, the dust settled and Dulwich began to get into their groove looking to continue their playoff challenge.
However, a crazy goalmouth scramble and the resulting red card proved to be the flash point of the match, from there Dulwich were unable to recover.
I’m not sure what was said in each dressing room before kick-off, but judging by the first 15 minutes it was some powerful stuff from both managers.
Things couldn’t have got off to a better start for the visitors when they were awarded a penalty from pretty much their first attack.
Jordan Green both won and converted the spot kick to give the visitors an early lead.
It was a frantic opening as both teams looked to impose their will on the game.
Dulwich seemed content to soak up pressure through Vint and Holland; countering throughout the opening exchanges, Dulwich’s front men were looking to stretch Hampton & Richmond at every opportunity.
But there was a little lack of dynamism in the final third and even with ball at feet the chances created were few and far between.
At the half hour mark Dulwich had grown into the game, having most of the possession with Levee popping it around for the visitors, who were looking like the better side but just lacking in cutting edge and clear opportunities.
Hampton & Richmond did well to keep the visitors out. Imran Uche, playing the enforcer role for the home team, was doing well to disrupt Dulwich’s flow, but they still seemed to have the tighter grip on the game.
Richmond’s form coming into the game was not great, just two wins in ten.
You could tell, as manager Gary McCann spent most of the match on the edge of his technical area barking instructions. They had an obvious plan to disrupt Dulwich that, to this point, was working. He said in his pre-match notes: “It’s my job to improve the squad mentality but also to ensure we are competitive on a game to game basis”.
A mentality they certainly had. The Beavers put a serious shift in, looking to get into the visitors at every 50/50 or loose ball.
And they got their chance with Robinson latching on to the ball in the box, some quick feet and a laser finish into the corner. 1:1 at the break.
The second half started with the Beavers looking brighter.
Just 10 minutes into the second half came the turning point in the game. Iffy Allan did well to fight for the ball in Dulwich penalty area and thunder a ball onto the underside of the bar. For a few seconds it was carnage. Dulwich tried desperately to block as it pinballed around the penalty area.
Grainger managed a great recovery save to deny the rebound but the third shot was goal-bound and stopped by the hand of Quade Taylor who was shown a straight red.
Roberts made things worse for the Hamlet by slotting the penalty coolly into the corner and things were looking tough for the travelling side.
Roberts was wreaking havoc and nearly added a second moments later after bouncing on a loose pass and sprinting clear but a tidy save from Grainger denied him a brace.
Aside from a few slaloming runs from Robert and co for the Beavers, they seemed content to hold what they had. The next 20 minutes were about digging in for Hampton & Richmond, which to their credit they did well.
Dulwich were frustrated. McCann was once again out ordering his troops and, despite a nervy final 10, in which Dulwich threw everything and the kitchen sink forward, they got out with a big three points.