Carshalton Athletic U18s match report
There are questions that need to be pondered after this outstanding game between the Robins and the K's. The first question is why did someone from the allotments behind the Colston Avenue ground think it was ok to set off a bonfire or some other smoke-inducing device so that the War Memorial Ground was covered for most of the match in unpleasant fumes - if no-one attending the game had an asthmatic attack then we were fortunate indeed. Question number two is a harder one to answer - why are Carshalton Athletic bottom of the Isthmian Youth League Central Division? On their performance last night, and their performance at South Park when K's won the home meeting between the two sides, the Robins gave the K's all they could handle. In this game at Colston Avenue, it could have been Carshalton's night.
For the first twenty-five minutes or so, it was a case of not if Kingstonian would score, more like when and how many, as they laid siege on the Carshalton goal, hitting the bar twice and forcing the Robins' goalkeeper into a series of saves. When the Robins then opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 27th minute when Joshua Borode's penalty was too powerful for Connor Wolfheimer to divert away past the left hand post and, much against the run of play, Carshalton had the lead. Memories of the loss against Colliers Wood United (West) flooded into mind.
The game began to open up now as Carshalton gained confidence, enjoyed possession and started to press and give the K's players no room to breathe. But the K's managed to ride what was threatening to become a bumpy ride when they equalised in the 37th minute. A throw in near the corner flag found Pacey Bean, who laid the ball nearly back to Iker Noguera Leon, with the K's captain rifling the ball home from the edge of the area all along the ground and into the net. On the stroke of half time, Carshalton's goalkeeper made a wonderful diving save from a point blank header from Rocco Ilhan which kept the sides level at the break.
The second half was very different, Carshalton were the better side for long periods of the half, dominated midfield, constantly set up dangerous situations with some excellent wing play and pressed K's uncomfortably high up the pitch. And they nearly got their just reward in the 64th minute when an unusually clumsy challenge by Alex Andreou instead the area forced the referee to point to the spot for the second time. It was the same duel - Carshalton's Joshua Borode vs Kingstonian's Connor Wolfheimer - the kick was sent the same way, to goalkeeper's left. Goalkeeper went the same way, to goalkeeper's left. But this time Connor produced an outstanding diving-full-length save.
It began to look like K's would have to settle for a point, in fact a point might not have been such a bad thing given how much trouble and angst that the Robins were causing. Thankfully, the team doesn't listen to me, and with nine minutes remaining, K's hit the front for the first time in this dramatic game. Deniz Ozer was the architect of this goal, with a speedy and aggressive run down the left leaving his defender behind, then it was a similar script to Iker's opening goal, the ball laid back to him, quick blast, goal. With Carshalton's goalkeeper having such a fine game, it would take a very fine goal to defeat him, and this was a very fine goal indeed.
Time now began to slow down drastically as it usually does when the team you want to win is leading by one goal in the last few minutes (it speeds up when it's the other way around). But the nerves was calmed for the night thanks to Iker Noguera Leon capitalising on an unfortunate error in Carshalton's defence when a clearance hit the K's man, Iker controlled possession and curled an instant shot past the helpless goalkeeper for Kingstonian's third.
Time to calm down, ironically time for the smoke from the allotment to finally abate. Iker will no doubt get the headlines for his hat-trick, but the hat-trick may not have happened without Connor's outreageous penalty save. This may have been a match in which the team top of the league defeated the team bottom of the league, but there was not much difference between the two sides at all on this occasion.
Next up is a game tomorrow (Wednesday 29th) when the K's are at home to Balham in the Quarter-Final of the Grant McLellan Cup. The match takes place at Chertsey Town's Alwyns Lane ground, kicking off at 7.45pm.