We finally overcame Leatherhead on penalties after a dramatic 90 minutes in the Surrey Senior Cup, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Carshalton Athletic 2 - 2 Leatherhead
(Carshalton win 3-2 on penalties)
Surrey Senior Cup first round
Monday 5th November 2018
Last five results: WDWWD
Bobby Price was fit enough to come back in and skipper the side, while Jacob Mendy and Ola Sogbanmu were handed starts.
This game was played at a high tempo throughout and both sides played the ball on the floor a lot, but early chances were at a premium - our best came as Mendy worked some space and fired a potshot from just inside the Tanners area that went straight at Zaki Oualah.
But there were fireworks within Colston Avenue on 19 minutes as we popped the ball around like a Roman Candle before Jerson dos Santos played Price down the right. Our captain swung over an inch-perfect cross and Omar Koroma planted a diving header beyond Oualah to break the deadlock.
The visitors responded through Antonio Dembele who crashed a low cross-shot on target but Patrick Ohman got down to comfortably save.
But Leatherhead came mightily close to evening things up on 28 minutes as Ibrahim Olutade took down a cross and, as the ball ran away from his touch, won a free kick right on the edge of our D. Rob Cullen stepped up and smacked a shot against our crossbar and Kalvin Morath-Gibbs was then fouled during the ensuing melee.
We were still dominating possession at this stage however, it was just in the final third where things weren't quite coming off; a mis-placed pass or linesman flag halting our flow more than once.
Both sides had chances as the half wore on - Olutade couldn't guide a free header on a deep cross on target, while Price thrashed an effort that didn't dip enough to really trouble Oualah.
But something truly special occurred just before the break - Sogbanmu flicked on a long free kick which Koroma got under control with his back to goal. He then flicked the ball over himself and his marker, turned and beat the oncoming Oaulah with a flying half-volley for his third goal in just six appearances.
HALF-TIME: 2 - 0
Leatherhead made a double substitution at the start of the second-half, including introducing top scorer Shaun Okojie, and these changes would go a long way in shaping the final result of this one.
But we were on the attack early as Koroma showed great pace to get down the left and was only halted by Jerry Nnamani by the edge of the box. Cheadle was in support however and he took on a shot that flashed into the near side netting.
That was Koroma's last action of the evening - he injured his hand as he fell during that challenge and was replaced by Ricky Korboa.
And the tide started to turn in favour of Leatherhead on 54 minutes as Rob Cullen lofted a high ball into our area. There was a mix up involving Ohman, Price and Morath-Gibbs allowing Okojie to sneak in and tuck the ball away from a tight angle.
We almost hit back straightaway as Korboa won a free kick just outside our visitors' area - Tommy Bradford took responsibility but Oualah was equal to the curled effort.
But Leatherhead had their tails up and had us penned back in our half for a long spell as we struggled to relieve the pressure - Danny Dudley and Morath-Gibbs were doing well to protect Ohman, but our keeper was equal to a Cullen effort when the visitors did get a sight of goal.
Michael Aziaya was introduced to try and help restore some balance, but the next best chance came against the run of play as we won a free kick on the right-hand side. Cheadle swung the ball in and an unmarked Sogbanmu needed to get more on the delivery to score what would've been a cert goal.
The game became a bit scrappy after that - Elliott Benyon was inches away from latching onto a Will Seager cross, Peter Adeniyi came on for Jerson dos Santos and Nnamani smashed our crossbar from about 16 yards after staying up from a previous attack.
We broke from that let-off and Korboa took the ball over halfway. He slipped Michael Onovwigun in on goal and he took the ball round Oualah but couldn't wrap his left foot around the ball to get it goalwards.
We won another free kick about 20 yards from Leatherhead's goal which this time Cheadle whipped over the crossbar, while Okojie put an effort into Ohman's midriff.
The game went into added time and Leatherhead were really turning the screw - Ohman saved well from Cullen, Dan Gallagher turned and shot just wide from 18 yards and Okojie slammed an angled drive wide.
Just as it seemed we'd weathered the storm and would be going through, Leatherhead stunned the home fans by scoring with the last move of the match - Gallagher delivered a ball into our box and Okojie powered a header in to force the match to penalties.
Jordan Cheadle saved by Oualah (0-0)
Shaun Okojie shot wide (0-0)
Bobby Price scored (1-0)
D'Sean Theobalds scored (1-1)
Tommy Bradford scored (2-1)
Zaki Oualah missed (2-1)
Kalvin Morath-Gibbs saved by Oualah (2-1)
Rob Cullen scored (2-2)
Peter Adeniyi scored (3-2)
John Ufuah saved by Ohman (3-2)
Full match highlights (with commentary) and post-match interviews coming via robins.tv
We host Harlow Town in an FA Trophy second qualifying round tie on Saturday 10th November, then Whitehawk visit us on Monday 12th November.
Carshalton Athletic: Ohman; Price (c), Dudley, Morath-Gibbs, Cheadle; Bradford, Onovwigun, Sogbanmu; Koroma (Korboa - 51), dos Santos (Adeniyi - 78), Mendy (Aziaya - 68)
Unused subs: Owen, Davidson-Phipps
Goals: Koroma (19 and 44)
Assists: Price, Sogbanmu
Leatherhead: Oualah, Blake, Seager, Mundow (Ufuah - 57), Gallagher, Nnanami, Theobalds, Cue (Benyon - 46), Olutade, Cullen, Dembele (Okojie - 46)
Goals: Okojie (54 and 90+6)
Our 'Man of the Match': Ola Sogbanmu