Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 Grays Athletic
Saturday 31 January 2015
Ryman League Premier Division
Grays were undone by a highly contentious Dulwich opener at Champion Hill on Saturday Writes the Mariner
They say that over the course of a season dubious decisions even themselves out but Grays must be wondering when the tide will turn having been on the end of some puzzling calls in their last three league games and Saturday was no exception.Dulwich’s first scored by Albert Jarrett despite Makofo lying on the goal line in a clearly offside position certainly ranked amongst the worst.
The Blues welcomed back James Stevens, Joao Carlos and Jordan Wilson to the starting eleven after being rested for the cup win at Cheshunt.
Despite the heavy conditions Grays started brightly with some neat interplay taking the game to Dulwich with Carlos featuring prominently early on. Grays were content to let Dulwich have time and space on the ball in their own half closing them down early when they moved forward.
The first real chance of the half fell to Dulwich in the 9th minute when hesitation on the Blues left flank allowed a dangerous cross which skimmed across goal with no Dulwich forward getting a touch, at the other end good control from Dumaka created an opening which the Dulwich Keeper Wilson did well to smother.
Dulwich were now seeing more of the ball but the Blues kept their shape restricting them to speculative crosses. Beaney and Stevens were working hard for the Blues, a searching ball by Richards came to nothing with Carlos losing control when well placed. Grays were continuing to frustrate the home side and a measure of their success was keeping the large home crowd mainly quiet.
Grays had a fright on twenty minutes when following a foul by Parry a header from Forbes was spilled by Gough with the rebound deflected for a corner. Dulwich continued probing with Vidal managing to find more and more space but the visitors kept their shape.
On 30 minutes Leader was caught in possession in his own half which allowed Wanadio to surge into the box but he went down too easily under challenge ,the ref rightly turning down a penalty appeal .Grays were still causing Dulwich problems on the break Dumaka found himself in a good position but hesitation cost him the chance to trouble Wilson.
Grays went into the break with their game plan working well but one felt they needed to be more direct in front of goal if they wanted to get something from the match.
The Blues came out strongly in the second half and forced an early corner which was dealt with easily by the home defence.Best sent in a searching cross which Wilson claimed under pressure from Dumaka but fell heavily and needed lengthy treatment.
On 50 minutes a Dulwich free kick was just wide with Gough scrambling to get across,the game was beginning to open up and a 35 yard effort from Stevens was gathered comfortably by Wilson. Dulwich were still looking dangerous with Xavier Vidal continuing to cause Grays problems with his intelligent running ,the Blues stuck to their task however but were guilty of overplaying the ball in the final third this was frustrating the Blues faithful who were imploring them to have a shot at goal.
The game was now evenly balanced with both sides looking for the opener ,on 62 minutes Carlos picked the ball up inside the Dulwich half and following a good run played the ball into Nouble who unleashed a rising shot that Wilson did well to hold.
Grays were coming more and more into the match but on 64 minutes came the pivotal moment in the game ,Dulwich attacked down the Blues left flank resulting in a cross shot which just eluded the in rushing ex Blue Serge Makofo who’s desperate sliding lunge left him prone on the visitors goal line, the ball was turned back in and and the resultant shot hit the grounded Makofo and rocketed up into the net. With no flag from his assistant the referee signalled a goal which incensed the visitors who surrounded the official, after a lengthy deliberation with his assistant the goal was awarded , the two officials were probably the only two people in the ground who thought Makofo was onside.
One could have forgiven the Blues if they had let the decision upset their rhythm but to their credit they took the game to Dulwich and began asking questions of the hosts ,Dumaka’s turn and shot was just wide and the same player should have hit the target when in a good position.
On 77 minutes Manager Bentley brought on Rod Young for James Stevens who had worked tirelessly in midfield, Dulwich number 7 Clunis became the first player in the refs book for persistent infringement at free kicks, shortly after Dulwich full back Abnett ‘s fierce shot hit the side netting,the home side then forced a number of corners late on but the visitors dealt with them comfortably.
Grays were going all out for the equaliser pushing more and more forward but on 89 minutes Manny Parry gave the ball away carelessly on the half way line Dulwich broke quickly and Gough was forced into a diving save which he did well to parry only for the rebound to be swept home by Vidal to make the final score 2-0
The defeat was a difficult pill to swallow for the Blues who up to the controversial first goal were more than holding their own and but for a more clinical approach in front of goal could have come away with at least a share of the spoils.
Next up for the Blues is a home tie with Enfield at Mill Field on Saturday 7th Feb, supporters are also reminded there will be a meeting with Andy Swallow at 13:00 to outline his plans for the future following the disappointing Fire Brigade decision. The meeting will be held in the Aveley clubhouse. Please be there.
Grays: Gough Best-Riley Siva Leader Parry Stevens Wilson Beaney Dumaka Nouble Carlos
Subs: Bentley Morrison-Derbyshire Young Marfo Swallow
Dulwich: Wilson Abnett Shaw Dixon Forbes Pinnock Clunis Carew Makofo Vidal Wanadio
Subs:Jarrett James Ottaway Samuels Kamara