Saltdean United 0-3 Dulwich Hamlet
Saltdean United suffered a third straight league defeat in a row on Sunday, as three second half strikes from an inspired Dulwich Hamlet side saw the Tigers succumb to a second successive 3-0 defeat at Hill Park.
Goals from Sarah Milner, Lucy Monkman and Asia Harbour-Brown ensured that the East London side took all three points from their travels down to the South Coast.
In a first half of few clear cut chances, the away side started brightly and could have opened the scoring inside two minutes, when Milner saw her close range effort well saved by Tigers keeper Lauren Graves, who also did brilliantly to smother the follow up effort.
Dulwich goalkeeper Mia North almost gifted Saltdean the lead on 17 minutes, when she allowed a routine back pass to roll underneath her feet into the side netting, with the resulting corner well defended by the visitors. Kellie Larkin also went close for the hosts on 18 minutes, when she fired over from distance after Dulwich failed to clear their lines
With both sides struggling to maintain possession, chances remained at a premium as half time approached. Paige Walder was the next to go close for the home side on 28 minutes when she was denied by a smart stop from North, Niamh Anderson firing the rebound effort high and wide much to the relief of the away sides rearguard.
Chloe Winchester provided a nuisance to the Dulwich back line for the majority of proceedings, and she nearly capitalised on 39 minutes after stealing possession and playing in Walder, whose effort flashed across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the upright.
With both sides unable to break the deadlock in an evenly matched first half, Dulwich came out with a rejuvenated sense of confidence in the second half.
Saltdean were once again thankful to Graves for maintaining parity on 49 minutes, when she brilliantly denied Milner the opener with a fantastic sprawling stop to turn the Dulwich forwards effort just wide.
Despite her heroics, Graves was eventually beaten for the opener on 52 minutes. After winning a corner on the right hand side, Milner saw her initial header rattle the crossbar, before eventually scrambling the follow up effort over line to give her side a precious advantage.
Not content with their narrow lead, Dulwich made it 2-0 on 60 minutes. After winning possession in the final third, Monkman took aim and unleashed a spectacular effort on the half volley from the edge of the box which flew past Graves and into the bottom right hand corner, a fantastic strike to double the away sides lead.
With the hosts now searching for a route back into the game, increasing numbers of gaps began to appear for the away side to exploit on the counter attack as the second half progressed.
The away side all but secured the three points on 75 minutes, when Harbour Brown raced through on goal and dispatched a clinical low strike beyond Graves, as Saltdean were once again caught short at the back.
Saltdean were frustrated by a resolute Dulwich defence for the majority of the second half, although they almost reduced the deficit on 77 minutes, with Walders pile driver of a free kick flying narrowly wide.
Dulwich saw the remainder of the contest out with relative ease, as their dominant second half display ensured that they came away from Hill Park with a well deserved victory. For Saltdean, that result ensured their second successive loss at home!
The Tigers will look to bounce back on Sunday, when they make the trip to West London to face Fulham, a great opportunity for Joe Mctiffen’s side to get back on track!