We are in the hat for the first round proper as we defeated Walton Casuals in the FA Trophy, writes James Barrett-Sterling.
Carshalton Athletic 2 - 0 Walton Casuals
FA Trophy 3rd qualifying round
Saturday 24th November
Last five results: WWWLW
Jerson dos Santos came back in to lead the forward line, while Jacob Mendy and Paris Hamilton-Downes came in for the injured Michael Onovwigun and Daniel Pappoe. Billy Bishop and Michael Dixon were fit enough to return and be named among the substitutes. Ex-Robin Ronald Sobowale was named in the visitors' squad.
The first chance of this one fell our way in the fourth minute - Ola Sogbanmu rose and met a Jordan Cheadle free kick but his header from 10 yards flew over the bar.
Casuals hit back and a corner on seven minutes was whipped into our near post and Patrick Ohman has to beat the ball away.
It was a corner that almost led to the first goal on 10 minutes - Danny Dudley met Tommy Bradford's delivery with a deft header but 18 year-old keeper Elgi Fejzo clawed the ball off the line.
Ricky Korboa was looking lively during the opening exchanges and, on 18 minutes, he went past three opponents before unleashing a shot that Fejzo could only spill wide of the far post.
But the big chances in this half both came around the half-hour mark.
Firstly, a training ground routine saw Casuals striker James Ewington get onto a low corner delivery and shot from 15 yards. It was on target but a combination of Hamilton-Downes and teammate Luke Holness deflected the ball away.
Then Alex Kelly played a square pass directly to dos Santos who burst clean through the Casuals centre backs and on towards goal. Fejzo stayed on his feet as long as he could while dos Santos bore down, our man went round the young keeper and then took an extra touch that saw the ball runaway from him. His eventual shot smashed frustratingly into the side-netting.
Jacob Mendy worked Fejzo with a bouncing 20 yarder, while Jack Battie saw a cross/shot fly across our goal as the first-half ended goalless.
HALF-TIME: 0 - 0
We got on the front foot early into the second-half and Cheadle popped a 25 yard free kick into the arms of Fejzo on 50 minutes.
Things threatened to boil over shortly after that - Korboa was dumped to the floor by a late challenge by Battie and, as play went on, Bradford heavily took down Kelly. A melee ensued but, once the dust had settled, only Bradford went into the referee's notebook.
Then a turning point - Dixon came on for his first appearance since picking up an injury a month ago and he went on to make a significant impact.
But first we survived a Casuals attack that saw Ryheem Sheckleford go past two opponents and get a lucky break off Bobby Price that saw the ball fall to Ewington inside our box. He teed up Holness but Kalvin Morath-Gibbs bravely blocked away the shot away.
And then Hamilton-Downes found himself a bit fortunate to only be cautioned for a late lunge on Kelly by the centre circle.
However we broke the deadlock on 66 minutes as Dixon peeked our wide and eventually delivered a low cross. Harry Miles swung a boot at it and Fejzo has to spring across to stop a very own goal, but Mendy was on hand to ram the loose ball home from close range.
But things got even better on 74 minutes as Dixon showed strength and tenacity to get in front of Joe Hicks and collect an Ohman goal kick. He then managed to then pull a cross back to Sogbanmu whom controlled it into the path of Mendy, who cut onto his left and banged the ball in from 20 yards.
That knocked the stuffing out the visitors who, despite made a double substitution straightaway, could only go on to muster a couple of half chances that didn't work Ohman.
Korboa drove forward on 87 minutes and picked out Dixon inside the Casuals box. Our forward cut inside and then back onto his left but the angle was getting worse and his eventual shot rattled the near post.
And Korboa intercepted a Fejzo throw out two minutes later and he weaved into the box, but the keeper atoned for his error by getting down and stopping the left-footed effort with a strong hand.
Catch all the match highlights (with commentary) and post-match reaction via robins.tv
We are at home against Dorking Wanderers on Monday 26th November (kick-off 7.45pm) before Enfield Town arrive on Saturday 1st December (kick-off 3pm).
Carshalton Athletic: Ohman; Price, Dudley, Morath-Gibbs, Cheadle; Sogbanmu, Hamilton-Downes (c) (Aziaya - 82), Bradford (Adeniyi - 88); Mendy, dos Santos (Dixon - 60), Korboa
Unused subs: Bishop, Koroma
Goals: Mendy (66 and 74)
Assists: Dixon, Sogbanmu
Booked: Bradford, Hamilton-Downes
Walton Casuals: Fejzo, Sheckleford, Mills, Hustwick, Hicks (c), Kelly, Battie (Farrell - 74), Sarpong, Holness, Ewington (Bennett - 74), Roberts
Unused subs: Sobowale, Wood, Robins
Our 'Man of the Match': Jacob Mendy