Carshalton Athletic match report
match report by James Maw
Kingstonian battled to a first win of the season with a hard-earned Bank Holiday Monday victory over a familiar-looking Carshalton side at Imperial Field.
Having drawn our first four matches of the nascent campaign to differing degrees of satisfaction and frustration, K's finally picked up three points against Steve McKimm's side, who included no fewer than six former K's in their starting XI.
Four of those starters played in our colours as recently as last season. That quartet - Ollie Cook, Gus Sow, Calvin Ekpiteta and Walter Figueira - were joined by Tom Beere and Iffy Allen in the Carshalton line up.
Having battled back to draw 1-1 'away' at Herne Bay on Saturday, Kingstonian started on the front foot in their second match of the Bank Holiday weekend. In the opening stages, Fumnaya Somotun was denied by Carshalton keeper Liam Beach, who narrowed the angle well.
K's were literally dealt a heft blow when Sow left a foot in on Rob Tolfrey, who eventually had to be replaced in the hosts' goal by rookie Mac Chisholm, having been unable to play-on for much more than five minutes after the collision.
There wasn't too much time for misery as within minutes Kingstonian were ahead. Louis Collins swung a cross deep into the box, which was gamely attacked by his opposite wing-back Dwight Pascal. The ball appeared to ricochet off multiple knees before thundering into the ground and looping over Beach, Pascal having had the last touch.
Kingstonian nearly made it two just before the half-time whistle, with Collins' goal-bound shot deflected just wide after a raking pass had left him through on goal.
We did make it 2-0 not long into the second half, when Shomotun, who was a menace all afternoon, fired a brilliant shot from the edge of the box through Sow’s legs and into the bottom corner.
That spurred the Carshalton bench into life, with McKimm promptly making a treble substitution, and those changes certainly seemed to make a difference. The Robins looked a team transformed and for the first time in the match K's were fully on the back foot. The visitors' saw a header hit the crossbar, and when Crossley Lema headed in to make it 2-1 K's fans were fearing yet another draw, but just as it looked like the momentum had swung away from Lee O'Leary's team, they wrestled back control.
It could even have been 3-1 had Jack Strange's headed effort not been cleared off the line, or had Cook's inadvertent header towards his own goal not been turned away in unorthodox fashion by Beach.
"You could see towards the end of the game just how desperate the boys were to get that first win under their belts," O'Leary said after the match. "I felt that from our first four games we definitely deserved at least one win, so it was nice to finally get it.
"I don't think there was too much difference (between this performance and the previous four). One thing you'll always get with this group of lads is honesty - they work hard. In a short space of time they've really come together, there's real harmony here and the atmosphere has been good - and that was without us winning any games of football.
"Today we had a little bit of the luck that we haven't had in the first few matches. And a little bit of quality and fresh legs from the weekend with young Kwesi (Ntim) and Fum (Shomotun) coming in, particularly as we were a little bit wounded from a tough 90 minutes on Saturday."
Carshalton Athletic: Liam Beach, Crossley Lema, Sam Mvemba, Calvin Ekpiteta, Ollie Cook, Bradley Pearce, Tom Beere, Gus Sow, Jake Embery, Walter Figueira, Iffy Allen.
Subs: Bradley Williams (for Jake Embery, 52m), Leo Hamblin, Aaron Smith-Joseph (for Iffy Allen, 52m), Tommy Bradford (for Gus Sow, 52m).