Carshalton Athletic’s recent spate of impressive form came to a grinding halt at lower tier Welwyn Garden City on Saturday as they fell to a 2-1 defeat in the 1st round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
There was no sign of the struggles to come when the Robins took the lead after just seven minutes. Lewis White was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and from the ensuing free kick Jordan Cheadle curled the ball past a five man wall and into the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season.
With Carshalton in the ascendancy in the first 20 minutes, the hosts were gifted an equalizer on 22 minutes when a defensive misunderstanding from a corner left Jay Rolfe to tap in from virtually on the goal line.
It was all the encouragement Welwyn Garden City needed as they worked their way into the game and started to show the kind of form that had enabled them to knock out the Robins’ Isthmian League Premier Division rivals Merstham in the previous round. Only a fine double save from Lloyd Thomas, after Carshalton had given the ball away on the edge of their own penalty area, kept the scores level at the break.
Sensing another upset, Welwyn came out for the second half with added purpose and commitment. Thomas had already made further outstanding saves from Dave Kenleyside and George Ironton when Carshalton’s attempts to wrestle control of the game were dented by a disputable straight red card for Daniel Bennett.
With quarter of an hour to go, Welwyn made the breakthrough their pressure had deserved when Ben Spaul rose to head home a cross from Matty Campbell-Mhlope. And they could have added to their advantage in the closing stages but for more heroics from Thomas, including one contender for save of the season from a Campbell-Mhlope volley.
Speaking after the game, Robins coach Alberto Kurti said: “We all have to take responsibility for what was a poor performance and make sure we’re ready for the next game.”
Carshalton Athletic: Thomas, Price, Hamilton-Downes, Jones, Cheadle, Bennett, Bradford, Ebuzoene, Hector, White, Ottaway.
Subs: Williams (for Bradford 28’), Bassett (for Ebuzoene 61’), Adeniyi (for Cheadle 84’), Read, Bello, Manuel, Kapica.
Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Walklin, Sexton, Spaul, Close, Rolfe, Babaie, Keenleyside, Watson, Ironton, Campbell-Mhlope
Subs: Doherty (for Ironton 49’), Taylor (for Campbell-Mhlope 86’), Vasey (for Watson 90’), Mensah, Adinna, Thompson.
Goalscorers: Cheadle 7’, Rolfe 22’, Spaul 75’.
Carshalton entertain Raynes Park Vale in the Surrey Senior Cup on Monday 15 November (7.45 kick off). They return to Isthmian League action at Hornchurch on Saturday 20 November (3pm kick off). Tickets are available at: https://hornchurchfc.ktckts.com