BY MARK DOIG
Dulwich Hamlet’s fears of being dragged into the National League South relegation quagmire were eased by a 2-1 home win over Welling United on Saturday.
A crowd of 2,353 watched a game that was lacking in goalmouth action, but the majority went home happy as the hosts claimed maximum points and dented the visitors’ play-off hopes.
Dipo Akinyemi had an opportunity for Dulwich in the opening minutes but snatched at his shot and it rolled wide.
Then Welling had a great chance to go ahead. Danny Mills sent Brendan Kiernan clear but Preston Edwards was out quickly to make an excellent block.
When Dulwich had a similar opportunity, they went ahead on 14 minutes. Dan Thompson was the provider with a through ball that Nathan Green stunned with a great first touch before guiding it clinically beyond Welling keeper Dan Wilks.
The closest the visitors came to equalising before the break was when Gavin McCallum headed over from Craig Braham-Barrett’s cross.
Dominic Vose fired just over after a corner was half cleared.
A major turning point arrived in the second half. Welling substitute Jack Barham raced clear and Edwards charged out to catch the high ball outside the penalty area. The Hamlet number one escaped with a yellow card and the resulting free-kick came to nothing.
Transfer-listed Hamlet winger Anthony Cook fired a free-kick over before Akinyemi thought that he had scored. Jordan Gibbons headed out a dangerous cross into the path of the Dulwich striker and he connected perfectly with a fierce drive towards the top corner – Wilks made a stunning save when diving full length to turn it over.
Dulwich gave themselves some breathing space with four minutes remaining, Michael Onovwigun created the opportunity with a low cross and fellow substitute Decarrey Sheriff finished.
Welling scored a consolation in the 89th minute. Bradley Goldberg hit a close-range shot that Edwards saved but it rebounded off Michael Chambers for an own goal.
Dulwich held on for their first league win since Boxing Day and they are eight points clear of the bottom three – although they have played at least one game more than the clubs in the relegation places.