The final game of the decade at Colston Avenue ended honours even as Merstham put a dent in Carshalton’s promotion aspirations, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Carshalton Athletic 1 - 1 Merstham
Isthmian Premier League Saturday 21st December 2019 Attendance: 401 Last five results: WWDLD
Carshalton skipper Paris Hamilton-Downes scored both the goals in the first-half, but visiting goalkeeper Matt Pierson was called into action several times as the struggling Moatsiders made it four points from two games.
And assistant manager Keith Boanas revealed his side need to start becoming clinical in front of goal again.
“We created some good chances but it was disappointing to see them hit at the goalkeeper. Some of our decision-making in the final third needed to be better too,” Boanas said.
“We can’t afford to keep dropping points, especially at home. It’s nice to have good runs in the cup competitions but the league is our main focus.
“We’ve only lost once in 14 league games but there’s been too many draws in there. We must get back to being unstoppable.”
The game itself started evenly although Pierson did well to turn away Ernold Haxhiu ‘s firm strike from 12 yards early doors.
The deadlock was broken in bizarre fashion on 28 minutes – home keeper Kleton Perntreou slipped as Paris Hamilton-Downes hit an innocuous back pass and the ball eventually dribbled over the line via the far post.
It was an early Christmas gift for Merstham but the Carshalton captain went from being Santa to Scrooge as he headed in a corner kick delivery just four minutes later.
“You can’t legislate for things like that happening,” added Boanas. “The response from Paris was excellent as he didn’t let the own goal affect his overall performance.”
Both sides could’ve led by the break but Merstham forward Ola Ayoola hit the woodwork with a flicked finish while young Robins striker Jesse Sentamu, making only his third start for the first-team, drew a fine save from Pierson.
“Neither keeper had lots to do but Matt was certainly called into more action and made a couple of good saves,” said Merstham manager Frank Wilson whom didn’t even know his side had taken the lead in the first-half.
“I was talking to a colleague and, when I turned back, the ball was in the back of their net. We didn’t really threaten in the opening 45 minutes so, while the result is positive, we are a little disappointed in our own overall performance.”
Both sides huffed and puffed after the break – a James O’Halloran cross almost deceived Perntreou, while Pierson denied Jerry Amoo and Christie Pattisson – but neither side could fashion a winner.
Catch match highlights and post-game reaction via robins.tv
Carshalton Athletic: Perntreou; Read, Pappoe, Hamilton-Downes (c), Cheadle; Haxhiu (Adeniyi – 64), Samuels, Bradford; Amoo (Splatt – 77), Sentamu (Ottaway – 64), Pattisson Unused subs: Hein, Kamara Goal: Hamilton-Downes (34) Assist: Samuels
Merstham: Pierson; Calucane, Richmond (c) (Marney – 87), Mensah, O’Halloran; Brown, Splatt (Sousa-Pina – 46), Lamont, Jacquart; Folkes (Ebwa – 90), Ayoola Unused subs: Mark, Kersuzan
Goal: Hamilton-Downes (28 og)