Carshalton Athletic 4 Salisbury FC 1
Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round Proper.
Saturday, 12 January 2019
By Alec Hayter
The Whites went out of the competition following a below par performance (for much of the match) at Carshalton. Their downfall was largely self-imposed as after having taken an early lead they then conceded two poor goals after having been hauled back by a 21st minute equaliser. Carshalton had a fairly unattractive (football-wise) game plan which worked and in Cup games that can be an effective way to succeed. I would not want to watch that very often, and it reminded me in some respects of the one and only time that the old club was involved in Ishthmian League football. On the day though, the Robin’s plan, helped by some Whites’ misfortune, meant that they go into the hat.
The opening goal on four minutes arrived when the home defence gifted the ball to Lewis Benson. The ball somehow landed at the feet of Aaron Dawson, and Dawson took his chance well, sending a right foot shot low into the corner. All seemed well as Salisbury rebuffed any home efforts before, on 20 minutes, the Robins equalised. A great ball gave Tommy Bradford his chance to hit a low shot through a forest of legs past the unsighted James Hillson. That seemed to be just one of those things and had looked fairly unlikely until then. Nine minutes later, Bobby Price cut in from the right and tamely shot wide of the target to confirm that at that stage there was potential to retrieve the situation.
Just after the half-hour Matt Partridge lobbed the ball across the face of goal but Chris Shephard and keeper Patrick Ohman met it at virtually the same time, the ball deflecting for a corner from which nothing was gained. Three minutes later however the home side's Jordan Cheadle was unlucky to see a 30 yard free kick from wide on their right hand side clip the bar, before, on 37 minutes the Robins were gifted the lead. This came as a result of a central defensive mix-up which left Michael Dixon in the clear. Despite Elliott Wheeler's best attempts the ball went into the net, and in time added on at the end of the first half, the Robins were again presented with a telling goal, at a telling time. Disappointingly the defence, and a Carshalton forward missed the ball from a corner and it found the net via a Wheeler deflection. This goal occurred after Partridge had left the action with a hamstring injury and after the break, Wheeler, who had shortly before the interval aggravated a knee injury, could not continue. Thus was destroyed the heart of the Salisbury defence which had looked relatively comfortable during the first half and which had performed very well in recent games.
Carshalton made the most of the necessity of their opponents' having to go three at the back, and produced a succession of chances as the Whites seemed to wilt, not producing a single threat of their own on goal. One of the few good moves of the whole game came from the hosts on 49 minutes when Bradford and Christie Pattison combined, Pattison pulling the ball back to Jacob Mendy who fired wide from 15 yards. Hamilton-Downes then hit a 25 yard effort straight at Hillson and on 56 minutes Cheadle's cross found Dixon who headed over the top from 8 yards. On the hour Cheadle caused more mayhem with a free kick, the ball being parried out to Hamilton-Downes whose deflected effort went wide, but seconds later an unsavoury incident occurred in the Salisbury box when Hillson appeared to be caught by a home player when on the deck. Many thought this warranted a red card but the referee decided that yellow was sufficient, and in the process also cautioned Dan Fitchett, presumably for his verbal protest. As the issue of a yellow card to the Robins’ player acknowledged some form of contact maybe the Carshalton player was lucky. Another blatant foul, in the ensuing melee, on Tom Whelan, was completely ignored by all of the officials (surprising as they appeared to be equipped with audio comms), and there could easily have been not one, but two red cards shown. Of course, the video will (should) confirm, one way or another and I stand to be corrected for any misinterpretation!
On 66 minutes Hillson made a good save from Mendy, but the match was finally put to bed when Jack Sparkes was left exposed and brought down Dixon in the box. There were few appeals against the penalty decision and Hamilton-Downes powered in the kick to make it 4-1 in the 76th minute.
Salisbury realised that it was now or never, and for the last quarter of an hour their performance regained earlier levels, with Whelan hitting a right foot shot over the top from 15 yards, Benson cutting in and testing Ohman from 18 yards, and Luke Hopper progressing along the goal-line before seeing his attempt blocked out. In time added on, Sparkes was extremely unlucky with a firm left foot half volley which was cleared off the line, but all of this was too little too late.
Unfortunately, some of our usually most effective players were just not that on this occasion, and, mixed with the unfortunate loss of influential defenders, this meant that the Whites lost out in what was a physical battle. It soon became obvious that it was just not going to be their day, although even at 2-1 there seemed little to worry about. All that changed though after the injuries and a third goal.
We must now move on and try to regain the much higher standards normally seen. One good memory for me though was the mature performance of young Charlie Rayfield, his second in seven days. He seems to love playing on plastic!
That's the first mention of the plastic surface, although this certainly had an effect on the outcome. There seemed to be a world of difference between Carshalton's 4G surface and Merthyr Town's 3G, but that is not offered as an excuse. However, the fact is that it was impossible to anticipate the reaction of ball on plastic at times and of course that gives those who play on it regularly a distinct advantage, just as it had at Walton earlier in the season.
In case you've forgotten, there is more cup football on Tuesday evening when the Whites entertain Blackfield and Langley in the CSS Southern League Trophy. The visitors are going great guns in their first season in the South and West Division and this will be a difficult game, especially in view of the unavailability of more players through injuries sustained today. The team will therefore need all of your support in order to make progress, and hopefully those of you who travelled to Carshalton and those who didn't will get behind them with noisy support.
Carshalton Athletic: Ohman, Price (Swaby 90+2), Hamilton-Downes, Dudley, Cheadle, Sogbanu, Bradford, Dixon (Dos Santos 79), Mendy, Pattison (Adeniyi 72).
Subs not used: Bishop, Aziaya.
Salisbury FC: Hillson, Rayfield, Sparkes, Whelan, Partridge (Sommerton 40), Wheeler (Hopper 45), Benson, Dawson, Fitchett, Shephard (Young 57), Haysham.
Attendance: 514 Referee (at present not known in the absence of a programme)