Smith hat-trick sees City overcome battling Dulwich

A Tom Smith hat-trick, including yet another stunning long-range strike, saw City overcome Dulwich Hamlet 3-2 at a wet and windy Twerton Park this afternoon. The visitors, belying their lowly league position, had twice pegged City back but in the end it was Smith’s 17th goal of the season, a sweet 30-yard shot with six minutes left, that secured the victory. With the blustery wind making conditions tricky Dulwich’s approach of launching long throws into City’s box at every opportunity always looked threatening but it was City who struck first on 16 minutes when the ball dropped to Smith to turn and shoot past Grainger. The two teams’ contrasting tactics continued to produce chances at both ends and five minutes before half-time Dulwich deservedly levelled when Mullings’ shot was deflected into the roof of the net. However, within a minute City restored their lead. Alex Hartridge started the move with a great defence splitting pass to Dan Martin and his perfect low cross was turned home at the far post by Smith. With the wind against them in the second half Dulwich found themselves pushed back more but City struggled to create any clear-cut openings, Smith’s shot into the side netting the closest they came during this period. And it looked as if they would be made to pay for this when, with eleven minutes left, Mills leapt highest to head home a corner and level the scores again. There was still time for one most twist though and it was no surprise who provided it, Smith collecting the ball 30 yards from goal and unleashing a now trademark strike that flew past Grainger into the top corner of the net. City still had to endure a couple of nervous moments after this before they could celebrate a hard-fought three points.