A stoppage-time equaliser from the spot capped a thrilling 3-3 draw between Carshalton Athletic and Aveley in the FA Trophy last weekend, writes James Barrett-Sterling.

Both clubs were in fine form going into this first-round proper match and the visitors, whom play one step below Carshalton in the Isthmian North, had already claimed higher league scalps en route to this tie. And, by the 53rd minute, Aveley were three goals up against their lacklustre hosts and seemingly cruising into the second round.

But Carshalton rallied and goals from Harry Ottaway, Christie Pattisson and that dramatic last-gasp penalty converted by skipper Paris Hamilton-Downes broke the visiting fans’ hearts.

“We just weren’t on it from the first minute and they punished us. They pressed us high from the off and showed a lot of energy,” said Hamilton-Downes after the game.

“They scored two early goals and we were then chasing the game. The overall performance is one to forget really, but we showed good resilience in the second-half to get ourselves back into it.”

Aveley went two-up inside the first 20 minutes at Colston Avenue as Firmin Ngandu converted a 15th minute penalty before defender Harry Gibbs guided home a corner kick three minutes later.

Shell-shocked Carshalton failed to work keeper David Hughes in the opening 45 minutes and the Millers were in dreamland as Jason Raad’s deflected shot in the 53rd minute crept inside the right-hand post.

But substitute Ottaway, making only his second appearance after being out injured all season, grabbed a goal back before the hour to give the home fans something to cling to.

The visitors failed to convert two more gilt-edged chances however and it cost them as Pattisson scored the goal of the game – a 25-yard screamer that beat Hughes into the top far corner – on 82 minutes.

And Hamilton-Downes took responsibility, after Ricky Korboa was felled in the box on 96 minutes, to step up and send Hughes the wrong way to rescue an unlikely replay.

“I’ve taken penalties in games before so I felt confident claiming the ball. I thought about just smashing it but I was happy to see their keeper go the other way in the end,” he smiled.

There was a sense of déjà vu during the replay this week as Gibbs scored Aveley’s second to give them a two-goal lead at the break, but Carshalton couldn’t break their hosts down this time and the final score stayed 2-0.

Next up for Carshalton is a home league match against local rivals Merstham on Saturday 21st December (kick-off 3pm).

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