A poor first-half performance display meant a second-half Carshalton fightback ended in vain, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Burgess Hill Town 3 - 2 Carshalton Athletic Bostik Premier League Saturday 8th December
Attendance: 327 Last five results: LWDWL Current league position: (9th with 28 points)
Team news Billy Bishop returned in goal at the expense of Patrick Ohman, while Michael Onovwigun came back into the midfield. Ex-Robin James Richmond lined up for the hosts.
Kick-off The wind and rain were swirling come the start of this one, making the playing surface slick and long balls haphazard.
Left back Tom Cadman has an early sighter on three minutes and the ball ballooned up off Bobby Price, but Bishop couldn't gather it in and he was grateful it fell to Daniel Pappoe whom cleared.
But Carshalton fell behind just four minutes later as they could only half-clear a Ben Pope flick on and Pat Harding hit a sweet first-time effort that skidded and bounced beyond Bishop.
The Robins registered their first chance just a minute later but Price cut inside and hit a left-footed shot straight at Mitch Bromage.
Jordan Cheadle was cautioned for bringing down the lively Keano Deacon and the conditions saw many players slipping over or misplacing passes.
But Carshalton we're struggling to break through a resolute Town side who were fighting for everything and a change was made on the half-hour - Cheadle was replaced with Peter Adeniyi and Paris Hamilton-Downes moves to left back.
The readjustment wasn't given time to bed down however - a minute later and Michael Wilson picked out Aaron Simon-Joseph whose his inswinging shot took a slight deflection past Bishop and went in off the far post.
Again, Carshalton created a chance after conceding as Jacob Mendy showed great skill to beat two opponents just inside the Town half. He set off for goal but saw his right-footed attempt blocked by a covering Richmond. The resultant corner was played low to Adeniyi on the edge of the box but he was blocked away.
Things went from worse to terrible for the Robins before the break as, much like his first strike, Smith-Joseph was found on the edge of their box and his shot was only helped in via the outstretched hand of Bishop.
HALF-TIME: 3 - 0
Another change was made at the start of the second-half as Ola Sogbanmu came on for Onovwigun and Carshalton had a golden chance to score on 48 minutes - an Adeniyi free kick was met by Hamilton-Downes but he ghosted a free header wide from about seven yards.
But the introduction of Sogbanmu helped Carshalton get a real foothold in the game and he played a big part in reducing the arrears on 53 minutes.
Tommy Bradford and Mike Dixon helped the ball forward and Sogbanmu bustled past Dan Beck before cutting into Town's area. He looked up and found Adeniyi charging in whom smashed a low shot past Bromage for his first of the season.
The Robins were buoyed, were now the dominate team and they grabbed a second just after the hour.
Michael Aziaya won possession and he fed the ball out to the advanced Price. The full back looked up and delivered a cross that Mendy took down between two defenders before steadying himself and slamming the ball beyond the oncoming Bromage.
Both sides picked up bookings as we continued to look forward, with a Hamilton-Downes cross picking out Dixon on 71 minutes but the striker's turn and hit was blocked by Wilson.
But then the intensity in the Robins' play seemed to diminish and ex-Kingstonian man Andre McCollin had two good chances for the home side within the space of three minutes - firstly he flashed an angled drive not too far wide of Bishop's far post, then Pappoe did well to block away an attempt after the striker was neatly found by Deacon.
Jerson dos Santos came on for the last 10 minutes but our next glimpse of goal fell to Danny Dudley on 81 minutes. He was found by Bradford's through ball but the defender was never really set and he thrashed a left-footed shot wide.
Carshalton thought they'd completed the turnaround on 88 minutes as dos Santos set up Bradford for a shot that was deflected across the area. The ball fell to Sogbanmu who managed to force it into the back of the net, but the linesmans' flag had already gone up and the goal was disallowed.
See match highlights (with commentary) and post-match reaction soon via robins.tv
Next up The Robins host Dorking Wanderers in an FA Trophy first round tie on Saturday 15th December, then visit Haringey Borough on Monday 17th December.
Carshalton Athletic: Bishop; Price, Dudley, Pappoe, Cheadle (Adeniyi - 30); Onovwigun (Sogbanmu - 46), Aziaya, Hamilton-Downes (c); Bradford, Dixon (dos Santos - 80), Mendy Unused subs: Ohman, Morath-Gibbs Goals: Adeniyi (53), Mendy (62) Assists: Sogbanmu, Price Booked: Cheadle, Price, Pappoe Burgess Hill Town: Bromage, Choules, Cadman, Wilson, Elpwick (c), Richmond, Deacon, Harding, Pope (McCollin - 54), Beck, Smith-Joseph (Galach - 85) Unused subs: Short, Ryder, Kipeya-Bonno Goals: Harding (7), Smith-Joseph (31 and 39) Booked: Wilson Our 'Man of the Match': Jacob Mendy