It was a real game of two halves as missed chances and two second-half dismissals cost Carshalton Athletic against Corinthian Casuals, writes James Barrett.
Team news: Ricky Korboa and Peter Adeniyi came in for Sean O’Toole and Anthony Folkes, while Jack Minchin was named among the substitutes. Ex-Robins Jordan Clarke and Warren Morgan were part of the visiting contingent.
We created the first real chance of the game on six minutes as Sekou Kaba picked out Paris Hamilton-Downes on the left and Bobby Price met his cross at the back post, but a defensive body blocked his header away.
Kaba was at the heart of our next opportunity as he bulldozed past a couple of opponents before teeing up Ricky Korboa from 18 yards. Keeper Danny Bracken dove to cover his shot but it hit Kaba, whose momentum had kept him running forward, and the linesman rose his flag for offside.
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The pair combined again on 13 minutes as Korboa took a return pass between the Casuals centre backs but he blasted a shot straight at the grateful keeper.
Casuals had the chance to get a ball into our box with a free kick a minute later, but Alex Kozakis comfortably claimed Bettache’s lofted ball.
But we finally turned our dominance into a goal on 18 minutes after Price and Peter Adeniyi combined on the right and the advancing Kaba took a pass beyond Bracken whom felled his ex-team mate. Tommy Bradford stepped up and popped the spot-kick high into the top-left corner.
We continued to hold Casuals at arms length, while Kozakis showed he was staying alert by coming forward and gathering another Bettache free kick in amongst a throng of players.
We should’ve doubled our lead just after the half-hour mark however as Adeniyi latched onto a blocked Bradford shot around 25 yards from goal. He unleashed a real rocket that beat the dive of Bracken but it cannoned back off the bar and landed at the feet of the unmarked Kaba who, despite having bags of time, proceeded to sky the ball over first-time from around six yards.
It was a real let-off for Casuals and Shaun Okojie responded with their first real shot of the game shortly afterwards, but it didn’t trouble Kozakis.
We refused to let them back into the game however, our pressing game typified by Bradford who covered 40 yards of grass before sliding in to halt a potential counter-attack.
But Okojie did plop a header on yet another free kick delivery in to the arms of Kozakis before Bradford hit a bouncing shot into Bracken’s midriff, but we had another golden chance to extend our lead two minutes before the break.
Korboa did well to intercept a mis-hit pass in the middle of the park and he cut inside towards goal as Adeniyi’s dummy run drew two opponents with him. Bracken saved the initial shot and, while he was still sprawled on the floor, Adeniyi teed up Korboa again from the byline but our man stabbed an effort wide of the near post.
HALF-TIME: 1 – 0
Kaba got into a good position to meet an early corner delivery after half-time but his firm header grazed the top of the Casuals net.
And our midfielder then received a yellow card as his long legs caught the advancing Bettache before the same player tested Kozakis with a low shot from distance shortly after.
But we were still looking comfortable in possession and stifling Casuals’ advances until the game spun on its head just after the hour mark.
A free kick was pumped into our box and, within the mass of bodies, the referee judged that Kaba had grappled his man to the ground – a second booking duly followed to compound a miserable night for him, while Josh Uzun stepped up to draw his side level with a low strike from the spot.
Their tails now up, the visitors began to get forward with more purpose and Okojie took advantage of our first real slack piece of possession to pinch the ball and rifle a shot past Kozakis on 68 minutes.
We were then grateful to Kalvin Morath-Gibbs as he made a perfectly timed tackle to deny Josh Gallagher a clear sight of our goal just a minute later.
We managed to settle and began put their defence under some pressure when Jordan Hibbert’s tackle on Serbony just over the halfway line was deemed ‘dangerous’ by the referee and a straight red card was produced, much to the dismay of the majority inside Colston Avenue.
But even with the numerical disadvantage, we continued to play some good football – not least when Mickel Miller played a one-two with Korboa and then Bradford before sweeping the ball out to Price, but his dangerous cross was cut out inside their six yard box. Jahmahl King kept the deep corner delivery alive on the far side, with help from Adeniyi, before the ball was met by Morath-Gibbs outside of the box but his shot lacked the power to trouble Bracken.
On-loan Anthony Folkes came on with five minutes to go but it was another sub, Jamie Byatt, who grabbed the next headline in this topsy-turvy game – he was fed a pass as he came into our box on 90 minutes and he scored a powerful shot that went in via the despairing hand of Kozakis.
Strangely enough, we managed to create three chances in stoppage time but Folkes and Miller both put shots from distance off target before Price read a mis-controlled pass inside his own half and ran with it past two opponents en route to goal, but Bracken brilliantly pushed his firm strike around the near post.
Photos from the game will be available soon.
Next up: We travel to Three Bridges on Saturday 10th December before Tooting and Mitcham United arrive at ours for a Surrey Senior Cup match on Monday 12th December.
Carshalton Athletic: Kozakis; Price, King (Folkes – 86), Morath-Gibbs, Hamilton-Downes (c); Hibbert, Adeniyi, Kaba, Korboa; Miller, Bradford
Unused subs: Aikhionbare, Phillips, Minchin
Goal: Bradford (18 pen)
Sent off: Kaba, Hibbert
Corinthian Casuals: Bracken (c