We were frustrated by 10-man Merstham for a second time this season, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Carshalton Athletic 1 - 2 Merstham
Bostik Premier League
Saturday 19th January 2019
Last five results: WLWLL
Our 'Man of the Match': Kalvin Morath-Gibbs
New midfielder Ben Cheklit was handed a debut and the returning Daniel Pappoe was named among the substitutes. Patrick Ohman, Kalvin Morath-Gibbs, Jacob Mendy, Ola Sogbanmu, Tommy Bradford, Paris Hamilton-Downes and Mike Dixon all came back in after the Surrey Senior Cup tie midweek.
The Robins got off to a flyer in this one albeit in rather bizarre fashion.
Bradford got the ball out wide and Jacob Mendy crossed a wicked ball into the visitors' box. Dixon headed it but, as the ball was going wide, Harry Ottaway managed to steer the ball back in from right on the byline and our unmarked forward sidefooted home his sixth of the season.
Merstham striker Walter Figueria had 12 goals prior to kick-off and a poor pass by Sogbanmu on 18 minutes saw him rob Danny Dudley 20 yards from goal, but he rushed an effort wide of Ohman's far post.
But, on 20 minutes, Merstham won a corner and Ollie Cook rose unchallenged to head the ball in from six yards.
That sparked the game into life and, just two minutes later, things really went into orbit after Carshalton forced a corner on the far side. Bradford's delivery was flicked goalwards by Hamilton-Downes and Tom Kavanagh blocked the ball with a high arm. The referee had no hesitation in producing a red card and awarding a penalty, but Amadou Tangara got down to clutch Hamilton-Downes' low effort.
Tangara was at it again on 33 minutes as Dixon got some space just inside Merstham's area but the keeper rushed out and blocked the shot away.
Then, two minutes later, Taofiq Olomowewe met a corner kick but put his header over the crossbar.
And Merstham stunned the home fans on 44 minutes as Kenny Beaney found Samuels pushing forward and the full back played a through ball that Figueria latched onto and he flashed a low shot back across Ohman.
HALF-TIME: 1 - 2
Peter Adeniyi came on for Cheklit and the Robins began the second-half on the front foot, but Bradford stabbed a Mendy cross over from six yards and Harry Ottaway was millimetres away from heading a Dixon delivery after the goalscorer chased a lost cause and won possession.
Pappoe and Courtney Swaby were introduced on the hour but the Robins were finding it hard to break down the 10 men in front of them, Ohman becoming a virtual spectator as the half wore on.
Bradford made a good burst forward on 74 minutes but his touch on a ball over the top was slightly too heavy and the chance to turn on goal disappeared.
But Dudley came over halfway four minutes later and he dinked a fabulous ball to pick out the run of Adeniyi. He managed to head the ball goalwards but, as the home fans awaited the net to bulge, the ball flew narrowly wide of the far post.
As Carshalton tried to push forward, chances were still at a premium although Dudley got onto a Hamilton-Downes nod down 18 yards out and powered a half volley on target. Tangara spilled the ball and, as it pinged around the area, Dixon had a shot that was blocked away.
And, as the clock ticked over into added time, Swaby tested the visiting keeper from 18 yards and Dixon couldn't guide a header on target after Dudley nodded a Hamilton-Downes cross back across Merstham's area.
AFC Hornchurch (h) on Monday 21st January (kick-off 7.45pm); Whitehawk (a) on Saturday 26th January (kick-off 3pm).
Carshalton Athletic: Ohman; Morath-Gibbs, Olomowewe (Pappoe - 61), Dudley, Mendy; Cheklit (Adeniyi - 46), Hamilton-Downes, Sogbanmu; Bradford, Dixon, Ottaway (Swaby -61)
Unused subs: Aziaya, Bishop
Goal: Dixon (7)
Merstham: Tangara, Samuels, Bird, Cooper (c), Cook, Kavanagh, Sow, Beaney, Figueria (Davies - 67), Saraiva, Michael-Percil (Henriques - 80)
Unused subs: Harrison, Guimaraes, Ighuray
Goals: Cook (20), Figueria (44)
Booked: Tangara, Michael-Percil, Beaney
Sent off: Kavanagh