Dulwich fail to overcome Chambers dismissal
Dulwich produced a much improved performance but ultimately slipped to another defeat
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A number of changes, and a change in system, produced a much improved performance from The Hamlet, but ultimately an in form Chelmsford side prevailed, as Dulwich had to play from the 33rd minute with ten men.
The match could hardly have got off to a worse start as a 4th minute free kick was floated in to the Dulwich penalty area that Preston Edwards should have come to take or punch clear. He didn't do either and Chris Whelpdale was left with a simple header to give the visitors the lead.
However, Dulwich were level within two minutes. A corner from the left was met with a towering header by Nathan Green that gave McDonald no chance.
This visibly lifted The Hamlet and Nyren Clunis forced another corner, although a further defensive mistake forced Edwards to make a good save from Whelpdale.
However, it appeared that every challenge from a Dulwich player was met with a booking and the self same challenges from the visitors were met without the same consistent treatment. Michael Chambers picked up an 11th minute caution for a trip, whilst Barnum-Bobb tripped Nathan Green at the other end, and in a much more dangerous position, and escaped without a caution. This inconsistency was to prove crucial.
A superb through ball set Nyren Clunis clear on goal, but on his weaker left side, and his effort was parried clear by the advancing McDonald.
However, Dulwich were then reduced to ten men when Chambers committed a foul on the edge of the penalty area and this was to prove crucial. However, with Green giving Barnum-Bobb a torrid time on the left, the Chelmsford full back manged to collect a yellow card for his second foul on Green. Therein lay the obvious inconsistency of the official's decisions. In fact, Barnum-Bobb was withdrawn as soon as Chelmsford regained the lead to avoid the risk of a dismissal.
Anyway, back to the first half and it was Dulwich who could easily have gone into the break in front. First, an effort from distance almost caught out McDonald but he managed to push it behind unconvincingly, then Dan Thompson headed too high witha flying header from only a few yards out,
The Hamlet also had two penalty appeals turned aside one when Nyren Clunis tried to chip the ball past a defender and as second, which looked particularly blatant, as the ball was pushed behind for a corner with a Dulwich head trying to connect with it.
However, when your form isn't great the breaks seem not to go your way.
Half Time 1-1
The second half started slowly, but Dan Thompson succumbed to what appeared to be a recurrence the injury that kept him out for the last couple of weeks after 52 minutes and, with Jacob Erskine also unavailable with injury, there was no like for like replacement.
With no focal point to hold the ball up, this surrendered the initiative to Chelmsford and they pushed forward confidently. Fenwick headed wide at the far post before they regained the lead in the 59th minute. This time a cross from the Dulwich left was brilliantly headed home by Whelpdale as he manged to direct the ball inside the far post.
Dulwich were now coming under more pressure but stood firm , managing to scramble the ball away from in front of goal with some last ditch defending.
However, the home side were not without their chances and neat play on the right from the impressive Anthony Cook released Nyren Clunis, his cross being stabbed wide at the far post by Decarrey Sheriff.
With 13 minutes left, Preston Edwards produced a fine save to keep The Hamlet in contention and with three minutes remaining Dulwich thought they had leveled. A corner was cleared back to Cook and his cross was met by a point blank header from Green that McDonald somehow kept out.
With the game in the first of four added minutes, Chelmsford made the points save as a driving run to the goal line lead to a low cross that Kennedy turned home from inside the six yard box.
Final Score 1-3