Banstead Athletic match report
We progressed in the Surrey Senior Cup as we dispatched of a spirited Banstead Athletic side by four goals to two, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Team news: Boss Hayden Bird promised a strong line-up and kept his word, but he also gave first starts of the season to goalkeeper Mason Whitnell and midfielder Jay Barton.
The visitors seemingly came to not be intimidated and a late lunge by Jan Mussington on Kershaney Samuels ended the midfielder’s evening in just the third minute – he later left the ground under his own steam, but will certainly be a major doubt for the upcoming Cray and Farnborough matches.
The first real shot of the game came on 20 minutes and it went the way of Banstead as Whitnell got down smartly to deny Richard Oseni from 15 yards.
Despite dominating possession for long periods, and the likes of Nyren Clunis and Jason Banton marauding the flanks, we found it difficult to penetrate the visitors’ back five until the deadlock was broken just before the half-hour.
Barton released Clunis down the right and his curled cross was turned in first-time at the back post by the in-form Elliott Buchanan.
That lead was almost doubled five minutes later as Banton played a neat one-two with Buchanan to burst in on goal but, as he shaped to shoot, a brilliant recovering tackle from Marc Agou denied him.
Banstead goalkeeper Devon Gordon had to be subbed before half-time, following a knock taken while defending a Ks corner, but that earlier injury to Samuels came back to haunt the visitors as we doubled our lead deep into added time.
This time Clunis did well to win the ball and get Rhys Murrell-Williamson away down the right and his lofted cross was met by Buchanan whom finished in a similar manner to his first.
HALF-TIME: 2 – 0
We were looking very comfortable going into the second-half but Banstead had other ideas as they flew out the blocks a more attacking entity.
And they reduced the arrears on 48 minutes following good endeavour down the left from Jude Molloy. His eventual pullback missed everyone but Ben Geraghty fired it past both Whitnell and a defender from just inside the area.
The visitors had renewed heart - Mussington struck a post from 18 yards with a low strike and a 20 yard free kick was hit narrowly off target – as we were put on the backfoot for a spell.
Although we were admittedly under the cosh, the next best chance fell our way – a near-post corner was almost headed in by Jerry Puemo but sub keeper Billy Wilson did just enough to deny the defender a clean contact.
The referee dished out a few more yellow cards as the game threatened to boil over, but we restored our two-goal lead on 73 minutes through a familiar source.
Buchanan came onto a square pass 20 yards from goal and his left-footed shot took a slight nick to deceive Wilson and complete his first hat-trick of this season.
But the visitors’ heads didn’t drop and we were grateful to Puemo on 75 minutes as Oseni got in on goal and beat the onrushing Whitnell, but the covering defender blocked the shot on the line.
We finally ended Banstead’s stout display with five minutes to go as Banton showed good skill down the left before picking out Buchanan for perhaps his easiest finish of the night, side-footing in from close range.
The was still some late drama as Banstead got on the scoresheet again – somehow Ollie Cook conspired to kick a cross against himself and the ball ricocheted in to his own net, while Enea Zouka was lucky not to see red for kicking out at Puemo late on.
Next up: We host Cray Wanderers on Saturday 20th November (KO 3pm) before Farnborough arrive on Sunday 28th November (KO 3pm) for an FA Trophy second round tie.
Banstead Athletic: Devon Gordon, Steve Newman, Jude Molloy, Jan Mussington, Joe Peters, Marc Agou, Lewis Taylor, Rueben Duncan, Enea Zoula, Nathaniel Oseni, Ben Geraghty.
Subs: Alex Stingelin (for Marc Agou, HT), Will Crozier, Emmanuel Akitou (for Jan Mussington, 65m), Khalid Abisas, Billy Wilson (for Devon Gordon, 42m).