Dulwich Hamlet ran out 2-1 winners despite the Claret chances throughout the game with the Clarets solitary goal coming from Blackwell in stoppage time at the end of the second half. The turning point in the game was an incident late in the second half that saw 4 yellow cards and 5 red cards including the dismissal of both managers. The Clarets will feel like they should’ve taken more from the game but even in the latter exchanges of the game playing with 9, the Clarets continued to battle hard to try and get something from the game.
The hosts fashioned a pair of golden opportunities to take the lead early on in the tie. In the 4th Minute A long ball over the head of James set Dulwich in on goal with Porter. Ejeheri made the first save but didn’t hold onto the ball. A combination of Ejeheri and Winfield kept the ball out of the net and the Clarets could clear. The hosts came again with Felix immediately applying pressure, making his way in on goal. He struck low forcing Ejeheri down into a save.
A busy and scrappy start to the game saw both sides struggle to maintain possession but also fashioning a few half chances each. Both sides continuously looked to exploit the spaces between the lines with the cutting-edge passes being the way that each side looked to open up the other.
The hosts capitalised on their better start to the game in the 19th minute when Clarke opened the scoring. Lodovica lost possession on the halfway line. The hosts attacked down the Clarets left and fired a venomous cross into the box. Ejeheri could only punch as far as Clarke in the centre of the box who in time and space controlled, composed himself and smashed the ball home past Ejeheri and the Clarets defenders on the line.
The Clarets just a minute later missed a trio of fantastic chances to draw level. The first came to Vaz who wound up from outside the box and struck a brilliant effort at goal, Grainger was equal to it and saved straight into the path of Lodovica who headed at goal. Grainger got up and made the save again with the ball popping out to Jackson from close range who under pressure couldn’t convert and a combination of Grainger and the Hamlet defence were finally able to get the ball away.
A quieter 15 minutes followed as both sides jostled for a foothold in the game. The hosts were happy to let the clock run when the ball was out of play with neither side fashioning chances to trouble either goalkeeper.
In the 35th minute the Clarets created three brilliant opportunities to draw level. Some solid work from James, Barnum-Bobb and Trotter saw the Clarets win a corner. A deep delivery from Yearn found Winfield who headed across goal to Lodovica who saw his effort cleared off the line and out for another corner. Another Yearn delivery caused trouble in the Hamlet box as he picked out Trotter with his delivery, he headed at goal and forced Grainger to acrobatically tip over the bar. The final Claret corner in quick succession from Yearn again found Trotter who drove his header down towards goal. The effort went in the direction of Jackson who with his back to goal poked wide from a matter of yards.
The Clarets kept pushing for an equaliser as the half drew to a close with Dunne going close. The play started from a Dunne freekick which was played short, the ball was clipped towards Jackson but was cleared by Blackman before it reached its target. Trotter picked the ball up and recycled play back towards Vaz who under pressure played the ball forward to Esan. Esan took on two men with some tidy footwork and under pressure played the ball off to Dunne who opened up and struck just past Grainger’s post from outside the penalty area.
The Clarets came again in added time with a well worked opportunity being deflected towards goal and Grainger diving at feet to collect. The play started with Barnum-Bobb who controlled on the near side and played the ball back to Yearn, his threaded pass found Esan running into the box. His attempt at a cross was shut down but still found its way through and rolled towards Jackson and Lodovica who were surrounded by defenders. Grainger bravely dove on the ball and ended the Claret chance.
Just before half time the referee had a decision to make, Ming went flying into a tackle on Yearn leaving the Clarets player in a pile on the floor and play continued despite the protests of the Clarets. Vaz eventually won a freekick and Porter received a yellow card for throwing the ball away and giving the ref an earful, which then continued after the whistle with skipper Raymond having to pull his striker away.
It wasn’t the end to the half that the Clarets would’ve wanted after going behind early on. They dominated the final exchanges fashioning chances but not being able to capitalise on their chances. It was a well worked opportunity that gave the hosts the lead after they started the brighter of the two sides, a Ming cross not held by Ejeheri falling to Clarke who took his chance.
HALF-TIME: DHFC 1-0 CCFC
Winfield had the Clarets first chance of the second half following back-to-back corners for the Clarets. A corner from Yearn picked out Winfield at the back who headed his effort off the defender and out for a corner on the other side. This time Dunne took the corner and found Winfield with a free header in the middle of the box, but the Clarets skipper couldn’t direct his effort on target.
A Claret counter attack 5 minutes later left Lodovica with a great chance to score. The play started with Ejeheri who bowled the ball out to James, he played the ball forward which landed with Jackson who flicked the ball on to Barnum-Bobb on the overlap. He threaded the ball forward to Yearn who ran at the Hamlet defence with Trotter in support. Yearn picked out Trotter who ran into the box and looked to cross into the box. His ball into the box picked out Lodovica who on the turn saw his close-range effort blocked by a defender and eventually was gathered by Grainger.
Another 5 minutes passed, and another succession of chances came the way of the Clarets. Lodovica won the ball off Ming high up the pitch and found Jackson, he made his way into the box and arrowed his effort at goal, it was destined for the top corner but for Raymond’s block which went behind for a corner. The corner was played short with the Hamlet not set the Clarets put the ball in the box and eventually forced Grainger into a diving save.
Chances at both ends as the game really looked to open up after both teams made some changes. Jackson picked the ball up and ran the ball to the byline before playing in a deep cross, the ball went over everyone in the middle before being collected by Yila. He picked up the ball spun and put the ball back in the box, with his cross ending up just behind the onrushing Jackson who was winding up a volley in the 6-yard box. The hosts collected the ball and looked to counter with Mills, he had James and Winfield with him. Mills kept the ball moving while running at the defence, he shook off Winfield and struck at goal, but his effort cleared the crossbar and the top of the terrace behind the goal. The Clarets would come again through Yearn whose effort called Grainger into a fantastic save from close range. The Clarets continued to probe at the Hamlet defence in their hunt to find a breakthrough and try to get themselves level.
The game was changed in the 73rd minute as tempers spilled over from both teams all stemming from an incident involving Vaz and Clarke. Right on the halfway line on the nearside touchline in front of the dugouts at Champion Hill Vaz and Clarke were jostling for possession with the Hamlet man coming together with the Clarets defender. Tempers boiled over from this incident with both sets of players and benches getting involved. The officials had some thinking to do in what proved to be a huge point in what was already an entertaining tie. The incident continued across both technical areas for the best part of about 10 minutes. The game eventually cooled off and the referee with support of both his assistants started the long process of discussing and dissecting what had happened. Eweka was given his marching orders for his involvement in the incident in the 78th minute. Having only been on the pitch for 14 minutes, Yila was sent off for his part in the incident. The officials continued to liaise before brandishing Yellow Cards to Vaz, Trotter, Clarke and Comley. Hamlet manager Paul Barnes was sent off and after some further conversations Clarets manager Robbie Simpson was also sent off for what Simpson later revealed was for failing to control his bench. Play was eventually able to resume in the 83rd minute.
Vaz received his marching orders in the 84th minute, his second yellow for a late challenge on Clarke. City would have to play the final 6 minutes plus stoppages, already a goal down but with 9 men against Hamlet’s 10. Despite being the team with fewer men, the Clarets continued to dominate proceedings and create chances in search of an equaliser. Hamlet, however, continued to look dangerous on the counterattack as they went in search of their second as they looked to put the game beyond all doubt.
The Hamlet had a spell just after the Vaz sending off in which they were using their advantage to find the gaps in the Clarets side who continued to push for a goal. Raymond would have the first chance as he fired over in a spectacular acrobatic effort. Clarke would get his and Hamlets second after 88 minutes of play. The Clarets failed to clear their lines with Clarke winning the ball and advancing on the Clarets goal. He looked to poke the ball across goal, but that effort was blocked, and he was able to roll the ball into the net past Ejeheri, almost certainly putting the game beyond doubt.
The game ticked into 10 minutes of added time at the end of the second half and the 9 men of City looked the more dominant in proceedings as they went in search of a goal to set up a grand end to the tie. Dulwich still had the danger of the counter attack as the Clarets committed bodies forwards and they could’ve made it 3 through Mills. The Hamlet number 9 won the ball on the halfway line and had nobody between him and Ejeheri. Dunne chased him down putting Mills under pressure and the striker dragged his shot just wide where he will have felt he should’ve done better.
Blackwell scored on 90+5 but it proved to be merely a consolation. A low cross into the box was flicked on by Jackson and Blackwell running in at the back post smashed the ball into the net. The goal for the Clarets had been coming for the majority of the second half and the 9 men being on the front foot would continue to the end of the game. In the 98th minute the Clarets were given their final major chance of the game after winning a freekick just outside the box. Blackwell took it and hit his effort up, over the wall but couldn’t quite get it down under the crossbar.
That would be how the game would finish, the hosts running out 2-1 winners. A competitive tie saw the Clarets give it their all right until the final whistle, they created a plethora of chances throughout the game but ultimately the game came down to key moments and the Clarets were definitely on the wrong end of those in the game.
FULL-TIME: DHFC 2-1 CCFC
DHFC: Grainger (GK), Ming, Comley (Vint 84’), Raymond (C), Owusu (Mills 62’), Taylor, Blackman (Powell 67’), Porter, Clarke, Felix, Eweka
Unused Subs: Jones (GK), Nzala
Cautions: Ming 36’, Porter 45+3’, Clarke 80’, Comley 80’, Powell 90+7’
Red Cards: Eweka 78’, Barnes 81’
Goals: Clarke 19’, 88’
CCFC: Ejeheri (GK), James, Barnum-Bobb, Trotter, Winfield (Terry 90+2), Yearn, Dunne, Lodovica (Yila 64’), Jackson, Esan (Blackwell 64’), Vaz
Unused Subs: Marsden (GK), Blackwell, Ochieng, Terry, Yila
Cautions: Winfield 11’, James 36’, Vaz 80’, Trotter 80’
Red Cards: Yila 78’, Simpson 81’, Vaz 84’
Goals: Blackwell 90+5’