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Dulwich Hamlet 1 Dartford 1 match report

Elliott Romain’s second-half penalty earned Dartford a deserved point at Dulwich in National League South on Saturday.

It was the third penalty appeal of the afternoon from Steve King side’s as Romain cancelled out Christian Smith’s free-kick at the start of the second half.

Darren McQueen gets to the ball first for Dartford on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard
Darren McQueen gets to the ball first for Dartford on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard

Dartford fielded debutant Tyrique Hyde in their starting line-up, the midfielder joining on loan from Colchester to boost an injury-hit squad while there were also returns for Billy Crook and Jordan Wynter.

Josh Hill, skippering the side with Tom Bonner on the bench, collected a sixth-minute booking for a foul on the lively Nyren Clunis.

Dulwich went close when Clunis broke a few minutes later before Dartford got themselves into the game, claims for a spot-kick after Darren McQueen went down in the box were waved away though.

A good advantage by referee Rob Whitton saw the ball worked to Liam Gordon, who was allowed to travel from the halfway line to nearly the penalty area. Ignoring options to his left, Gordon played in Luke Wanadio but Dulwich keeper Preston Edwards made a smart block.

Darts keeper Mark Smith was then called into action twice in as many minutes. He gathered the ball at the second attempt from Lionel Ainsworth’s long-range shot and then denied the same player when he got behind the visiting defence.

Dartford keeper Mark Smith recovers to save at the second attempt against Dulwich. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford keeper Mark Smith recovers to save at the second attempt against Dulwich. Picture: Keith Gillard

It needed an excellent block by the returning Wynter to deny Danny Mills a clear sight of goal.

Dartford played the better football, though, their passing game illustrated just five minutes before the break when they created an opening for Romain, whose wayward shot failed to match the approach work.

It took Dulwich just three minutes of the second half to go ahead. Crook fouled David Ijaha on the edge of the area and Christian Smith’s free-kick took a slight deflection to beat keeper Smith.

A frustrated Romain went into the book for repeated fouls after clashing with keeper Edwards although Darts felt the decision could have easily gone the other way and resulted in a penalty.

Keeper Smith received treatment midway through the second half, as he struggled to shake off a knee injury picked up when his clearance was closed down by the industrious Mills earlier in the half.

Dartford then stepped up a gear as they looked for an equaliser. A left-wing corner caused problems in the home defence as first McQueen and then Crook saw their efforts come back off the post.

Then Gordon headed wide from a deep Jordan Gibbons cross at the far post before Darts got a penalty with 16 minutes left.

Dartford celebrate their equaliser at Dulwich on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford celebrate their equaliser at Dulwich on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard

Romain worked his way into the penalty area and referee Whitton deemed there was enough contact to point to the spot. The Darts striker picked himself up to emphatically fire the spot-kick into the top corner.

Dulwich nearly snatched a late winner but Nathan Smith’s right-foot shot hit the outside of the far post and went out for a goal kick.

Dulwich: Edwards, McCoy, N Smith, Ijaha, Taylor, C Smith, Clunis (Kearney 80mins), Dempsey (Chapman 80mins), Mills, Vose (Connors 72mins), Ainsworth. Subs not used: Orlu, White.

Dartford: M Smith, Gibbons, Gordon, Crook, Hill, Vint, Hyde, Wynter, Romain, McQueen, Wanadio (Wabo 64mins). Subs not used: Bonner, Brodie, Blackman, Hayes.

Attendance: 2,365.

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