It was an afternoon to forget as Carshalton Athletic fell to defeat against promotion rivals Greenwich Borough, writes James Barrett.
Team news: Josh Phillips came in up top, while Ryan Healy, Dominique Bongo and Rio Davidson-Phipps also returned to the starting line-up. Long-term absentees Ricky Korboa and Sean O’Toole were named on the bench.
The game started at a high tempo as both sides looked to get on the attack, but it was Liam MacDevitt’s pace in the seventh minute that drew a tackle from Kalvin Morath-Gibbs and the referee gave a spot-kick – Charlie MacDonald made no mistake.
And we fell further behind just four minutes later as MacDonald picked up a defensive header before heading towards goal and unleashing a curling 20 yard shot, with the outside of his boot, that beat the dive of Joe Tupper.
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We struggled to get out of first gear as time ticked on – mostly thanks to Borough’s pressing game – although one smart move on 20 minutes involving Jordan Hibbert, Phillips and Bobby Price saw the young striker take aim from 18 yards, but a defensive blue shirt blocked his path.
We’d still not registered a shot in anger by the time Greenwich got their third – a MacDevitt cross was only half cut-out by Bongo and, although Tupper bravely denied MacDonald at close range, Davidson-Phipps couldn’t smash away the loose ball and the midfielder tapped home his hat-trick.
We finally had the visiting keeper on his toes on 39 minutes as Healy got Miller away into the box but the angle was poor and our man fired into the side-netting.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 3
Panton and Aikhionbare were introduced for the start of the second-half but we were still sloppy in possession and finding it difficult to break down the visitor’s resolve.
Morath-Gibbs did display some steel as he twice slid in to block off Borough attacks, while Aikhionbare got the fans upbeat with a couple of good runs and harrying challenges.
The visitors won a free kick 20 yards from our goal on 66 minutes but Panton got in the way of the powerful strike and deflected it away to safety.
And then the wind changed and we became the more dominant team – Bongo met Hibbert’s free kick by the penalty spot, but his header just dipped over the top of the crossbar, then an unmarked Miller headed a Tommy Bradford corner just wide of the far post.
We were now the side nipping in to nick possession and looking to take on our markers but we only got on the score sheet with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Denied: Aikhionbare almost gets a goal
Peter Adeniyi went on a trademark run into the Borough box before teeing up Bobby Price, whose cross was guided onto the far post by the head of Phillips. Bradford reacted quickest and drilled the loose ball across goal for Miller to turn in his 15th of the season.
Bradford was looking to cause more damage just two minutes later as he took on, and skipped past, his marker on the left and put in a square ball for Aikhionbare. He seemed destined to slam the ball past Craig Holloway but the outstretched boot of Liam Hickey deflected the ball off target.
And Hibbert also put a 25 yard potshot with his weaker foot into Holloway’s midriff during added time.