Dulwich Hamlet (0) 1 Bath City (1) 2 – Saturday 18 February 2023 – Vanarama National League South – Champion Hill
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Elliott Frear’s stoppage time cross-shot sealed a last gasp victory for Bath City.
The winger’s dinked ball from the left looped over the red faced James Holden and nestled into the bottom corner to inflict Dulwich’s seventh defeat in eight.
Another moment to forget had given City the lead just before half-time when Jordan Cheadle’s inexplicable lapse on the ball saw Scott Wilson rob him and stroke home from 10 yards.
Frankie Raymond’s penalty soon after the break brought Hamlet level and after Max Harris’ stunning save from Cheadle kept the game tied, Frear popped up late to deflate the majority of the 3,000+ crowd.
Having scored in all bar one match this season, City knew Dulwich would pose a threat going forward with Joe Felix’s strike from distance whizzing inches past the post via a huge deflection.
Wilson wasted a good opening for the Romans, who looked the more comfortable side in the opening half. The forward slashed wide from 10 yards after Frear managed to find room for a cross down the left.
Dan Hayfield drove into the side-netting as Dulwich, whose 58 goals against heading into the contest was the worst defensive record in Step 2, afforded too much space for City when they pushed forward.
The goal they conceded on 45 minutes was unforgiveable. In attempting to control Chris Lines’ clearance, debutant Cheadle dallied under no pressure and Wilson nicked the ball before gliding forward and easily converting past the helpless Holden.
Within five minutes of the restart Dulwich were awarded a penalty when Danny Mills went to ground following a tangle with Jack Batten and Raymond stepped up to send Harris the wrong way from the spot.
Sonny Cox’s header from Frear’s delivery was comfortably taken by Holden as the hosts tightened up defensively in the second half while City remained well-drilled themselves, resulting in few openings.
Felix shot too close to Harris on the counter before the keeper was worked much harder with seven minutes remaining. After Batten was cautioned for catching George Porter on the edge of the box, Cheadle’s arcing free-kick was tremendously batted away for a corner from the on-loan glovesman.
Adam Mekki nearly marked his debut with an assist when his near post corner somehow flashed through a crowd of bodies in added time but another delivery from the left saw Dulwich’s luck well and truly out.
James Morton’s pass saw Frear shift past Sanchez Ming and chip the ball towards the back post, which suddenly dipped over Holden into the far corner, marking the keeper’s first start for Hamlet in horrible fashion.
It clinched a third successive away win for City in all competitions to move them up to 12th and leave the hosts peering nervously at those below them following a fourth successive home loss.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Dyer, Batten, Parselle (c), Hayfield, Frear, Lines, Wilson, Morton, Mekki, Cox. Subs not used: Smith, Clarke, Rose, Ford, Minzamba.
Scorers: City – Wilson (45), Frear (90+4); Dulwich – Raymond (pen 49)
City Bookings: Parselle (32), Mekki (80), Batten (83)
Officials: M Robertson-Tant, F Roque, M Scott