Written by: Chris Brenta
Bridge Avenue is a ground that Carshalton Athletic don’t have fond memories of, having not won there since 2008. After yesterday’s result, they won’t be in a hurry to make a return any time soon; three second half goals including a Danny Dudley own goal means the Robins are still without a win away from home in October.
Carshalton made one change from the side that had won the previous two games. With Archie Proctor unavailable and not in the squad, Danny Dudley returned to the starting eleven. There were two new faces on the Robins bench, Daniel Hector and 19-year old Nikolai Krokhin both came on in the second half to make their Carshalton debuts.
The first 15 minutes saw the Robins start brightly, with a couple of good chances to take the lead, Jordan Cheadle with the best opportunity, but was unable to finish off a decent move at the back post Good build up play starting at the back and working the ball across the pitch was in high contrast to the direct long ball tactics adopted by Hornchurch. The Urchins had chances of their own too, utilising the pace and trickery of Charlie Ruff and the arial ability of former Ghana international,
Chris Dickson, who won everything in the air. Patrick Ohman had to be on hand with a number of great saves to keep the game at 0-0.
Carshalton looked quite comfortable for the majority of the first half, but when Tommy Bradford lost the ball in the 39th minute, Hornchurch’s Ellis Brown was able to break down the right, feeding Dickson to square the ball to the oncoming Ruff, who slid the ball in off the post and give the Urchins the lead.
The second half was a much more one-sided affair, with Hornchurch growing in confidence throughout. The Robins did have chances to equalise, with Hamilton-Downes forcing a good save from keeper Joe Wright, and Harry Ottaway (who came on to replace Omar Koroma) unable to steer his header on target. Carshalton were made to regret their misses even more as Dickson fired home with a fantastic finish from the right to double the Urchins lead in the 67th minute.
Six minutes later, Hornchurch had a chance to put the game to bed when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Ruff from Hamilton-Downes. Up stepped Chris Dickson, who hit a good shot towards the right corner, but Patrick Ohman was equal to it, making a fantastic save to deny the former Charlton man.
At 2-0 the penalty save could have been the kick start the Robins needed, who at the time were on their way to fading out of this contest. However, missing the pen only seemed to spur Dickson on, and within two minutes he had dinked a lovely shot over the oncoming Ohman to get his second and Hornchurch’s third and securing the three points.
The fourth goal summed up the afternoon for the Robins; a fairly innocuous ball towards the edge of the Carshalton box was headed up by Danny Dudley, but the ball looped over Ohman who was helpless to prevent it from going in.
The front three for Hornchurch really stood out in this one, especially Ruff, who caused the Robins problems every time he got the ball. If not for Patrick Ohman, the result could have been a lot worse too – but a string of world class saves meant he could hold his head up high at the end of a disappointing performance from the rest of the side. Another positive was the performance of Daniel Hector, who looked lively when he came on off the bench.
It wasn’t to be for Carshalton yesterday, they were well beaten by a very good side whose league position doesn’t reflect the ability they have on the pitch. The Robins now have a week off before they go again back at Colston Avenue next Saturday against Enfield Town. A much-needed break for a small squad that have played two games a week since the start of the season, and who’s fatigue clearly contributed to a disappointing second half.