Bath City (1) 1 Dulwich Hamlet (1) 4 – Tuesday 24 November 2020 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Bath City (1) 1 Dulwich Hamlet (1) 4 – Tuesday 24 November 2020 – Vanarama National League South – Twerton Park

Report by Mark Stillman

Dulwich Hamlet ended their four-match losing streak against Bath with four goals in a ruthless display at Twerton Park.

City led through Donovan Wilson inside two minutes, but were left seething after Michael Timlin’s free-kick was initially disallowed for offside, before referee Dale Wootton overturned his assistant’s decision and awarded Dulwich a leveller much to the fury of Jerry Gill, who was cautioned for his protestations.

It proved a turning point. Gavin Rose’s side were clinical after the break with goals from Giovanni McGregor, former City loanee Deon Moore and substitute Danny Mills to rubber stamp a miserable evening for the Romans.

The defeat, coupled with Braintree Town’s win at Tonbridge Angels, puts City bottom of National League South albeit with matches in hand.

It started perfectly for Gill’s men. In their first meaningful attack, Tommy Conway’s marauding run saw his shot blocked before the ball fell to Wilson, whose low strike from 20 yards crept inside Charlie Grainger’s left-hand post.

Tom Smith, on his 50th successive league start, floated a free-kick harmlessly over and went on a jinking run before shooting too close to Grainger as he looked to score his first goal since a hat-trick against the same opponents in February.

Dulwich began to feel their way into the game after a shaky start. Aaron Barnes twice went close before they were rewarded with a controversial equaliser.

Timlin’s free-kick from 25 yards just evaded Quade Taylor in a packed penalty area and bounced past Ryan Clarke, who was momentarily relieved to see an assistant raise his flag for offside.

Having consulted the referee, a goal was awarded with the assumption that Taylor was not interfering Clarke’s line of sight, and it proved to be a pivotal moment. Gill continued his protests as the officials left the field and suffered further distractions at the break by withdrawing the injured Jack Batten for Jason Pope, with Tom Richards replacing the sacrificed Lucas Tomlinson in a tactical reshuffle.

Dulwich flew out of the traps in the second half. Frankie Artus threw himself in the way of Ruben Sammut’s drive soon after the restart but the warning signs went unnoticed as the London side took the lead on 47 minutes. Barnes found room on the right and his delivery was met on the volley by McGregor who placed it neatly out of Clarke’s reach.

It woke City up with Wilson proving a handful and Richards’ smart strike well smothered by Grainger, before they were undone by another goal created down the Dulwich right.

Dan Ball was tied in knots by McGregor who out-foxed the left-back and played it across to the onrushing Moore to slam home from close range and all-but seal Dulwich’s first league win of the season.

Having scored four goals in their previous seven league games, Hamlet notched a fourth with 12 minutes remaining. Pope’s attempted dribble out of defence went awry as debutant Andre Blackman robbed him and shrugged off the defender’s desperation to win the ball back. Blackman centred for Mills to slide in a remarkable tenth career goal against City in 10 years.

Ball headed Tom Mehew’s corner and Richards’ low shot was blocked by Grainger’s leg as City hunted a mere consolation but their lack of a clinical edge in front of goal proved costly. In terms of second half possession there wasn’t much difference second half, but the visitors were far more effective on the ball and deservedly went home the happier.

It meant a sixth straight defeat in all competitions with five in National League South, City’s join worst run of form in their history in the division and most successive losses since a nine-game streak between January-March 2012.

Att: n/a

City’s Line-Up: Clarke (c), Smith, Batten (Pope HT), Ball, Artus, Wilson, Conway, Dean, Horton, Tomlinson (Richards HT), Mehew. Subs not used: Henry, James, Evans.

Scorers: City – Wilson (2); Dulwich – Timlin (36), McGregor (47), Moore (58), Mills (79)

City Bookings: Ball (35), Artus (44)

Officials: D Wootton, J Clench, B Duffill