Yesterday brought mixed emotions for supporters of Dulwich Hamlet. First it was confirmed that landlords Meadow had hit them with a demand for £121,000 in back rent, and then that they had been banned from playing at Champion Hill. Finally, just when you thought that it could get no worse, Meadow advised the club that they had applied for- and been granted- trademarks relating to the name of the club, the initials DHFC, and phrase ‘The Hamlet.’ Last night, however, thoughts turned back to actual football, and their team put aside the off-field turmoil to inflict a fourth successive league defeat on Billericay Town and return to the top of the Premier Division.
Hamlet- or as Meadow would perhaps have us refer to them, small settlement near Peckham- arrived in Essex last night on the back of a rather uninspiring run, with three draws and three losses in their last six league matches, and soon fell behind as Billericay looked to put their recent troubles behind them and cement their position at league leaders. Dean Inman put the Blues ahead as early as the ninth minute, but Camberwell Suburb weren’t downhearted and grabbed an equaliser just before half time, Dipo Akinyemi finding the net. The second half was then interrupted for a considerable period by an injury to Reise Allassani- which in the end didn’t require hospital treatment- before Akinyemi broke Billericay hearts by putting Dulwich-play-by-Shakespeare ahead with seven minutes remaining. Nyren Clunis then made it three-one right at the death, to send his side back to the summit.
Billericay sit in second place, one point behind the side in pink and blue, and level on points with Margate and Folkestone Invicta- and although they have four games in hand their form must be worrying Messrs Tamplin and Wheeler immensely. They will need to turn things around quickly, and will have the perfect chance to do it as they face sixth place Staines Town on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the division, Margate travelled to Leiston and an enthralling match saw them go behind with two minutes to go before grabbing a last-gasp equaliser. Matt Bodkin put Gate ahead on the stroke of half time, but Leiston were not downhearted and levelled through Dominic Docherty after seventeen minutes of the second period. New signing from Lowestoft Town Jake Reed then got a debut goal, only for Jack Evans to level matters. Leiston are eighth, four points off the playoffs.
Folkestone Invicta leapt over Margate into third place, recording a comprehensive win over Kingstonian, Ian Draycott and Joseph Taylor (2) with the goals in a 3-0 victory, whilst three of our other clubs also notched three goals- Needham Market in recording a 3-1 victory over Burgess Hill Town, Staines Town and Worthing in a 3-3 draw at Wheatsheaf Park. Gareth Heath, Sam Nunn and Brendan Ocran put the Marketmen three up before Lucas Rodriguez got a consolation for the Hillians, whilst Staines had to come from behind three times as they hosted a resurgent Worthing. Saturday’s hero Kieron Pamment put the Mackerel Men ahead only for Max Worsfold to draw the Swans level just on half time, Reece Myles-Meekums restored the away advantage only for Elliot Buchanan to level once more, before Zack Newton thought he’d won it with eighteen minutes to go only for Mo Bettamer to earn the home side a point.
There were two matches in the North Division, and Craig Edwards Cheshunt did themselves a power of good in winning 3-2 at Barking whilst fellow strugglers Ware went down 2-0 at home to Brentwood Town. Cheshunt went ahead through Jason Hallett before Kiernan Hughes-Mason equalised for the home side, but an own goal put the Ambers in command before the interval, and they never relinquished control, Emiel Aiken making the points safe despite a late consolation from Tiob Adeyemi. At Wodson Park a goal in each half, from Danny Dafter and Brad Hunter, gave the Blues of Brentwood all the points. Cheshunt move up to 21st, five points clear of the drop and a point clear of Ware in 23rd. Brentwood Town are twentieth.
There were goals galore in the South Division; eight at the end of College Lane as East Grinstead Town went down 5-3 at home to Herne Bay. Thomas Carlton and Jake Embery got two each for the visitors, with Miles Cornwell getting their fifth, whilst a Charlie Postance double and an opener from Marcus Elliot made up the Wasps tally. The star of the night, however, was undoubtedly Greenwich Borough’s much admired striker Jack Barham, who scored FIVE of his own as Borough thrashed Molesey 6-1 at Walton Road. Ross Chalke got the Moles consolation whilst Travis Gregory also scored for Borough, who are now four points behind leaders Lewes- who play tonight- in fourth place.
Sixth place Walton Casuals were made to work extremely hard for a point at home to Guernsey, going in at half time two goals down, courtesy of Alex Le Provost and Ryan Zico-Black. The second half, however, was a rather different matter, as first Jack Sammoutis and then Harry Mills struck back, leaving Casuals seven points clear of Hythe Town in the final play-off position.
In the other match, Sittingbourne went two-nil up at home to Ramsgate, David Smith and Tom Loynes with the goals, only for the Rams to score three of their own in the last half hour and take all three points- Tom Chapman, Liam Dickson and Aaron Millbank the scorers.
Tonight, weather permitting, Lewes can extend their lead at the top to five points if they can inflict defeat on bottom club Shoreham.