Simeon Wright at Champion Hill
Dulwich Hamlet tumbled into the thick of the relegation dogfight, as fellow National League South strugglers Tonbridge Angels struck a late winner at Champion Hill last weekend.
Joe Turner’s 85th-minute goal was enough to inflict a ninth home league defeat of the season, in a match which saw Dulwich waste early chances, before simply failing to even threaten in the second half.
Tonbridge were almost ahead just two minutes in, Tommy Wood’s half-volley from range tipped over by Charlie Grainger. Minutes later, the hosts’ top scorer Danny Mills raced away from Rian Bray, only to stroke a near-post effort straight at Jonny Henly.
The Angels’ stopper was worked again in this lively opening ten minutes, Shamir Mullings chancing his arm from distance and forcing Henly to parry. Mills was inches away from pouncing on the rebound.
Mullings, a striker by trade, started positively on the left for Hamlet, as he looked to be an extra presence in the box alongside Mills, while former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Jack Connors bombed forward behind him.
The left-back was involved in another good move when his cross met the foot of skipper Quade Taylor, but his shot narrowly missed the post from ten yards out. Soon after, Jeffrey Monakana sent the ball low across the face of goal, inexplicably missing an outstretched Mullings.
Conditions then began to deteriorate. Rain blew sideways, hoods went up, and Tonbridge’s Henry Burnett went off, as he took the ball powerfully to the centre of his face. The 2,663 Champion Hill faithful endured a lengthy stoppage, before applauding the midfielder down the tunnel.
Dulwich boss Gavin Rose witnessed warning signs near the hour-mark, when Wood headed just wide and Turner curled past the post. Rose responded by introducing the exotically-named new signing Diogo Barbosa into the centre of midfield.
In the final ten minutes, Marvin McCoy was well placed to clear off the Dulwich goal line, while Mills’ frustrating afternoon was summed up as he glanced a difficult headed chance off target.
And the home crowd was left stunned with five minutes of normal time to go, Turner fizzing a 20-yard shot into the bottom corner in front of more than 50 travelling fans. The goal propelled Tonbridge above Dulwich into sixteenth in the table.
The Hamlet now face an ominous trip to league leaders Wealdstone on Saturday, sitting just two places above the bottom two, level on points with 21st-placed St Albans City, but significantly maintaining a positive goal difference.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s match at Wealdstone’s Grosvenor Vale will be the latest destination for mental health and suicide awareness campaign Walk and Talk, which is encouraging people to take part in a walk which will begin at Champion Hill.
Details can be found on Twitter @WalkAndTalkMMH.