Ten man City stand firm to deny Dulwich

Despite playing for over 75 minutes with ten men City secured what could turn out to be a vital point in a goalless draw against Dulwich Hamlet at Twerton Park this afternoon. When Jack Batten received a straight red card – his first in City colours – for pulling back Sekajja as he looked to race clear on goal, the play-off chasing visitors must have thought the points were theirs for the taking. They’d already started the game on the front foot but after Batten’s indiscretion they came up against a Roman wall that, for all their possession, they rarely looked like breaching. Ryan Clarke had to be at his best to deny Mills on 20 minutes and the same player saw his shot from a tight angle cleared off the line by Joe Raynes seven minutes before the interval. These were the best efforts they could muster, with just a couple of further openings failing to trouble Clarke. Their frustration was summed up by Dayton’s dramatic tumble in the box in first half stoppage time to try to win a penalty. Mills, a perennial thorn in City’s side, missed a great chance just past the hour mark, directing a close range header wide, but this was a rare nervous moment at the back for City. And, with Dulwich looking increasingly bereft of ideas going forward, City began to threaten a goal at the other end. A great run by Ryan Jones had already seen strong penalty appeals waved away by the referee on 50 minutes before Ben Seymour just failed to get on the end of bouncing ball in the six-yard box with 17 minutes remaining. And, remarkably, as the game went into stoppage time it was City who twice could have grabbed all three points. First, Alex Fletcher saw his shot pushed away by Grainger then the keeper had to be alert again to deny Cody Cooke when he tried to force the ball past him in the final minute.