Dulwich Hamlet’s patchy early-season form continued on Saturday as they lost their second straight match at Champion Hill to a lively Bognor Regis side.
With no Premier League football during the international break and the South London derby between Millwall and Charlton postponed, a crowd of 2,217 turned up to watch the match.
They were treated to a foreboding start as Bognor Regis took the lead in the 18th minute, James Fraser scuffing the ball over the line amidst a goalmouth melee. But three minutes later Dulwich were level with recent signing Ibra Sekajja slotting home his first goal for the club.
However the Hamlet’s recent fallibility manifested itself again when centre-back Mark Weatherston brought down Bognor Regis’s Alex Parsons in the box – Ollie Pearce stepping up to blast the penalty past Preston Edwards.
Dulwich had a good chance to equalise before the break when Sanchez Ming crossed for Nyren Clunis, but the winger sent his header over from eight yards and Bognor Regis went in good value for their 2-1 lead at halftime.
Early in the second half, Bognor Regis had a claim for a penalty denied by referee Paul Johnson who instead gave a free-kick on the edge of the box which was drilled into the wall by Doug Tuck.
Dulwich began to turn the screw around the hour mark with a succession of good chances, Sekajja again at the middle of much that was good, but it was Bognor Regis who came closest to extending their lead when Parsons crossed for Pearce whose shot cannoned back off the bar.
With Dulwich pushing forward for an equaliser, space was inevitably going to present itself in their defensive line, and so it proved in the 88th minute when substitute James Crane broke free to slot the ball past Edwards at his near post.
Even Dulwich’s hopes of a consolation goal were scuppered when substitute Gavin Tomlin smashed a free-kick off the inside of the post from 20 yards in the second minute of injury time.
After the match manager Gavin Rose remained sanguine despite the result: “We had a lot of the ball but our decision making wasn’t what it should be. We’ve got to learn from it in terms of being more clever. Our job is to keep improving.”
Next up Dulwich travel to Leatherhead on Saturday, the side currently fourth bottom of the Isthmian Premier Division. Rose will be hoping his side learn their lessons sooner rather than later.