Carshalton Athletic are preparing for an enticing FA Trophy tie this Saturday after winning an enthralling league battle with fellow play-off hopefuls Bognor Regis Town, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
In a game that saw the woodwork hit three times, several saves by both goalkeepers and a host of spurned chances, it was midfielder Kershaney Samuels’ first goal for the Robins that proved the eventual difference at Colston Avenue.
The 1-0 win moved Carshalton up into the top five of the Isthmian Premier League and was also their third straight victory on the bounce.
And, while he plots his side’s approach against visiting Aveley in the FA knockout competition this coming weekend, player/manager Peter Adeniyi has been most pleased with his squad’s recent defensive resolve.
“Bognor are a very good side and I was pleased we restricted them to few opportunities during the game,” said Adeniyi.
“I’m very satisfied with a third clean sheet in a row. If you don’t concede then you won’t lose football matches and we’ve been stressing that recently.
“We are lucky to have an outstanding crop of defenders here, plus goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou has done his part when required. All of them have played exceptionally well lately.”
Bobby Price, one of those aforementioned defenders, almost spectacularly opened the scoring last Saturday with a 25 yard screamer in the third minute that hit both posts without going over the line.
That set the tone for an exciting game that swung back and forth, but Samuels’ match-winner arrived on 24 minutes – he burst to the edge of the Bognor area before playing a neat one-two with the unselfish Tommy Bradford to score past keeper Adamou Tangara.
The visitors had won five of their last six matches ahead of their visit to Colston Avenue, and James Crane came close to equalising before the break as his 15 yard strike cannoned back off a post.
Either wasteful finishing or good saves by Tangara kept Carshalton from adding to their lead after the break, while Perntreou was called into late action by Ashton Leigh’s angled drive to help preserve his side’s clean sheet.
“It was a really enjoyable game playing against Bognor and I’m sure any neutral would’ve loved watching it,” added Adeniyi whom came on as a 40th minute substitute for the injured Luke Read.
“We did miss a few chances to make the game safe but, after each one, we said to each other ‘we are not conceding today’ and the boys did their jobs to make sure that happened.”
Saturday’s FA Trophy game against Aveley is Carshalton’s tenth knockout game of a busy season, but it’s a competition that does offer a route to Wembley. The Robins have already beaten Merstham, Frome Town and Tooting and Mitcham United to reach the first round proper, while lower-league Aveley have won four matches to reach this stage.
Carshalton fans will be hoping their team can channel the spirit that saw them take National League Barnet to a replay in a third round proper last season.