Carshalton ended 2018 with a much-needed victory against Tonbridge, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Carshalton Athletic 3 - 0 Tonbridge Angels
Bostik Premier League
Saturday 29th December
Last five results: WLLLW
Current league position: 10th (with 31 points)
Our 'Man of the Match': Christie Pattisson
There was a debut for Taofiq Olomowewe in defence and Michael Dixon replaced Jerson dos Santos up top. Billy Bishop came back between the sticks. Jordan Cheadle was suspended so Jacob Mendy switched to left back, while youngsters Joe Jarrett and Jesse Sentamu were named among the subs.
The visitors were in the same situation as the Robins - four defeats in the last five - but they started the brighter as Joe Turner flashed a header just wide in three minutes.
Tonbridge forced three early corners too but the home defence stood firm, but it took Carshalton 20 minutes to register a first attempt on goal.
Dixon and Christie Pattisson combined down the right and the latter dinked in a cross from inside the Angels' box. Ola Sogbanmu met it firmly with a diving header which keeper John Henley parried out, but Tommy Bradford was on hand to ram home his third of the season.
Sadly skipper Bobby Price was forced off with an injury on 29 minutes, Swaby coming on, and a half-cleared corner was acrobatically returned by Sonny Miles but the ball flew wide of Bishop's right-hand post.
Bishop was finally called into serious action on 34 minutes as he parried a low Murphy shot from 18 yards and Olomowewe cleared the loose ball away.
Both sides almost added to the scoreline before the break - Pattisson teed up Dixon whose neat touch and turn saw his shot blocked away by Henley. Angels went up the other end and Murphy put a sighter from 18 yards narrowly past the near post.
HALF-TIME: 1 - 0
The home side doubled their lead on 49 minutes after a forcing a corner. Sogbanmu managed to guide the deep delivery into the path of Pattisson whom crashed a sweet half volley into the top far corner for his first goal since returning to the club.
But still Angels kept foraging forward and Carshalton were grateful to Danny Dudley whom got an important foot in as Murphy threatened to shot on a low cross.
But the Robins punished the visitors on the break on 58 minutes - Bradford got Swaby away down the left and his wicked cross was guided on target by Dixon. Henley bravely blocked that effort but he could do nothing as the ball cannoned in off the unfortunate Lee.
Dixon could've had a hat-trick on another day but he was denied by Henley again on 65 minutes after the striker burst through on an Sogbanmu pass.
But credit to Tonbridge who, even at three down, never gave up - they kept the Robins inside their own half for long spells of the last 20 minutes, and forced numerous corners, but the home defence remained resolute.
When they finally did get a sight of goal on 79 minutes Bishop brilliantly turned away a powerful Turner drive at full stretch.
Jacob Mendy flashed a late effort wide with his weaker foot but, in the end, Carshalton cruised to a victory that ended 2018 on a high note.
Catch the highlights (with commentary) and post-match reaction soon via robins.tv
We are away at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday 5th January before we entertain either Salisbury or Braintree Town in the FA Trophy second round on Saturday 12th January.
Carshalton Athletic: Bishop; Price (c) (Swaby - 29), Dudley, Olomowewe, Mendy; Sogbanmu, Morath-Gibbs, Adeniyi (Jarrett - 90); Pattisson, Dixon (dos Santos - 76), Bradford
Unused subs: Ohman, Sentamu
Goals: Bradford (20), Pattisson (50), Lee (58 own goal)
Assists: Sogbanmu (2), Dixon
Tonbridge Angels: Henley, Beere, Smith, Theobalds, Miles, Lee, West (Ramadan - 59), Parkinson (c), Read (Small - 76), Murphy, Turner
Unused subs: Stone, Witnell, Adonis-Taylor