Carshalton Athletic 1 – Ramsgate 1
Both goalkeepers were in inspired form as it finished honours even against Ramsgate, writes James Barrett.
Team news: We gave a debut to new arrival Jordan Hibbert in place of Paris Hamilton-Downes in the only change from Tuesday night’s visit to Molesey.
We started on the front foot but our visitors created the first good chance on nine minutes as Bradley Stevenson got round Jahmahl King and only had Alex Kozakis to beat, but our keeper stayed big and clutched the firm shot.
Mickel Miller was played in on goal a minute later by Peter Adeniyi and his toe poke on the through ball deceived the oncoming Luke Watkins but, frustratingly, the ball rolled just the wrong side of the near post.
We continued to dominate possession and kept Ramsgate on the back foot for long spells, but they worked hard to block our shots and press us into hurried crosses or passes back away from goal.
Brendan Murphy-McVey read a poor clearance on 17 minutes and headed it into the path of Ricky Korboa whom bore down on goal but Watkins palmed away his angled drive.
Korboa had another run on goal a few minutes later as he spun past Jake MacKenzie but, rather than cutting the ball across the six yard box, he selfishly went for goal and only found the side-netting.
Phillips and Price combined in their area on 26 minutes and our captain saw a shot balloon up off a defending leg and fall down on top of Watkins’ crossbar, with the resultant corner kick being defended.
The same two both tested Watkins further as the clock ticked on, while Korboa was given as offside as he latched on to an Adeniyi through ball and Hibbert fired a right-footed effort way off target on 38 minutes.
We continued to press and Adeniyi and Korboa combined for Miller to then rattle a post with a deflected 12-yard strike which Phillips then couldn’t force home from close range. Murphy-McVey took aim on the weak clearance from 20 yards but Watkins had recovered to palm it away at full stretch.
And, to further compound our profligacy, we lost possession midway inside our half on the stroke of half-time, through a poor back-pass by King, and Alfie Paxman was played in to beat the exposed Kozakis with a low angled shot into the far corner.
HALF-TIME: 0 – 1
An early powerful run by Adeniyi was only ended when he was hauled down illegally by Stevenson, but Murphy-McVey thought his goalbound free kick was blocked by an arm inside the congested penalty area – nothing was given.
But we finally beat Watkins and his defence on 56 minutes as Adeniyi teed up Murphy-McVey and his perfectly weighted through ball got Phillips free and the young striker opened up his body before calmly side-footing back beyond the keeper for his fifth of the season.
We continued to press forward with Korboa and Murphy-McVey both firing wide from distance, while Watkins got behind an 18-yard strike by Miller that took a small nick off an opponent on its way through.
Adeniyi played a lovely through ball for Miller to get in front of his marker on 66 minutes and his neat touch and shot saw Watkins push the ball away at full length, the visiting keeper doing his utmost to further frustrate us.
Sekou Kaba seemed odds-on to open his goalscoring account on 71 minutes after Korboa attacked down the left and teed up the tall midfielder about eight yards out, but his shot ruffled the wrong side of the side-net and the home cheers were swiftly curtailed.
Ryan Healy was then introduced for Murphy-McVey before Mekhail McLaughlin and Hibbert both done well to halt threatening Ramsgate attacks at the other end.
But it was Watkins whom continued to be the busier of the two keepers as, on 78 minutes, Korboa got in one-on-one with the shot stopper and managed to get round Watkins’ lunge but, before he could think about turning the ball goalwards, the keeper had sprung back and got his hands on the moving ball.
Phillips made way for academy player Francis Sey’s debut as the game headed towards the last five minutes – and both sides had big chances to win it.
We were grateful to Kozakis for pushing away another angled Paxman drive, while Watkins tipped over a fierce Kaba shot from 15 yards before Paxman fired a neat volley straight at our keeper as the game entered added time.
And we could’ve nicked it at the death as Miller did well to hold the ball up in the centre circle before turning and releasing Korboa in behind a high defensive line, but he lacked composure and sadly thrashed an 18-yard effort way off target.
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