Two games and two wins in three days have seen the Robins put the disappointment of their October away defeats behind them as they beat Horsham in a thrilling 3-1 game despite only scoring one of those goals themselves.
Both sides named unchanged line-ups, the first time the Robins have done so this season, which meant that Ernold Haxhiu retained his spot at right back after impressing there at the weekend. Horsham had won their last two games in the league, so it was no surprise when manager Dom Di Paola named the same eleven that dispatched Wingate and Finchley on Saturday.
This game was a complete contrast to that of Saturday’s against Corinthians; open, fast-paced and full of chances, this truly was a game that could have gone either way. The fact there could have been a goal within the opening 45 seconds as Chris Smith latched onto a loose ball and forced a great save from Patrick Ohman was a good indicator for the 89 minutes that followed.
Ten minutes in and the deadlock was broken, a deep corner from Kershaney Samuels wasn’t dealt with by keeper Bradley House, and then pressure from Jordan Cheadle resulted in Charlie Harris try to thrash it clear, only to hit it straight against Thomas Day and see it rebounded back into his own net.
Over the next 15 minutes Horsham had some good opportunities to draw level, but they were unable to trouble the Robins goal as they let several good chances go begging. And they were ruing those missed chances even more when another deep corner from Samuels ended with the exact same result as the last, as it was again put in the Horsham net by a one of their own. This time it was Rob O’Toole with the fateful touch. Much to the delight of Carshalton, they were 2-0 up without actually having a shot on target.
The chances continued to flow for both sides, a fantastic cross from Haxhiu only just evading Omar Koroma and Patrick Ohman continued to keep the Horsham attack at bay at the other end, only for Archie Proctor to nearly get an own goal of his own. Chris Smith looked destined to pull one back for the Hornets as he dinked the ball over the Robins keeper, but Proctor managed to clear the ball in rather spectacular style by smashing it against the upright.
As we headed towards the break, the Robins will feel they should have had a third, Hornets keeper Bradley House came flying out his box to clear a ball with a diving header, landing awkwardly with the ball falling to Koroma, who stroked it home. As he did so though, the Referee blew his whistle and awarded a freekick to Horsham, much to the bemusement of the home fans. Barely two minutes later, another decision went against the reds, as Tommy Bradford felt he was fouled inside the area, but referee Neil Morrison waved away his protests.
Carshalton put the game to bed in the 55th minute with a team goal that all started from Cheadle’s fantastic challenge deep in his own half. This was followed by some great work by Proctor and Bradford to set Clunis away down the right, and his low cross found Koroma, who squeezed the ball underneath House to bag his fifth of the season and ensure the points were staying at Colston Avenue.
Credit to Horsham as they weren’t disheartened by going three down and continued to put pressure on the Carshalton goal – but Ohman, determined to maintain his clean sheet, pulled off a string of world class saves to keep the Hornets out. However, in the 94th minute, Proctor was adjudged to have deliberately handled the ball in the box and Horsham were awarded a chance for a consolation goal from the spot. With the last kick of the game, Charlie Harris dispatched the penalty and at least gave the travelling fans something to smile about, as well as scuppering Ohman’s hard work.
A thoroughly entertaining game that Horsham will feel that on another day could have gone their way, but as the old adage goes, goals win games and yesterday was living proof of this. The win has taken the Robins to top spot in the Isthmian Prem – for 24 hours at least – with the rest of the league playing today.
Carshalton head back on the road this weekend as they head to 19th placed Hornchurch looking for their first points away from home this month, while Horsham welcome Brightlingsea to the Camping World Community Stadium.