The u23s travelled to Carshalton FC on Monday night with a young squad due to the first team having injury concerns and a game away to Tooting & Mitcham the following night which understandably restricted availability from them while the u18s had an important league fixture the same night, this was a great opportunity for our youngest club goalkeeper Tom Baxter along with u18s Josh Short and Danny Lelwani to gain experience. Carshalton are unbeaten and lined up with a strong squad including some experienced central midfielders, we arrived to an excellent 3G surface along with a nice wide pitch and the lads were set up in a 4-5-1 with a back four of Tariq Richards (Captain), TJ, Billy Wraight & Billy Barker… the midfield included Ben Wilson, Emanuel Ageyman, Curtis Griffin, Danny Lelwani, Curtis Gayler with Charlie Townsend the lone striker. Josh Short and Max Knight were our substitutes.
The game started at a high tempo and it was obvious this was going to be an open game with CFC looking threating going forward with their talented No 10 pulling the strings and their pace in wide areas a concern, after a tough first 20min of pressure we had stayed disciplined and defended well while limiting them to few chances and they started to get a little impatient which worked in our favour, the lads stood up to the physical and mental side well and we created our own chances with some good phases of play and went close with Charlie Townsend and Curtis Gayler both denied by good saves. Tom in goal showed some good handling and was kicking well to relieve the back four and Curtis Griffin worked hard in the holding midfield role to restrict the No 10, a well-disciplined, committed half and the score finished 0-0 at half time.
The lads were upbeat at half time and believed there was something in this game and the second half we started to get on top with Ben Wilson and Curtis Gayler threatening on both flanks while Emanuel Ageyman was starting to penetrate the CFL defence with some excellent passes, however slightly against the run of play it was CFC who took the lead when a 30 yard well struck shot miss –footed Tom in goal and literally flew in to make it 1-0.
This didn’t affect the team’s desire and we pushed for an equaliser with some threatening crosses but we couldn’t quite find the finishing touch to put us back in the game, it wasn’t until the 75min we finally got the deserved goal when a well worked attack resulted in a cross from Charlie Townsend that Curtis Gayler volleyed in from 20 yards out to make it 1-1. The last 10min were end to end with both sides pushing for a winner, CFC hit the bar and a great one v one stop from Tom kept the scores level and on reflection a good point away from home. Substitute Josh Short impressed during his 25min debut at this level and Max Knight worked hard in the middle to help us stay unbeaten in this league and look forward to our next fixture at home to Shoreham on Thursday 16th November at home.
Overall a positive evening with the players taking the opportunity to work on fitness and personal development, the Carshalton FC coaching team were complimentary along with ourselves on the quality of the game and a good advert for the Blue Fin Development League.