Horsham bade farewell to 2017 with a narrow defeat after Ricky Korboa scored the late goal that lifted Carshalton above near-neighbours Corinthian-Casuals into fourth place in the Bostik South Division.
The result was harsh on the Hornets, whose improved second half display looked like earning them a point when Steve Metcalf cancelled out Tommy Bradford’s seventeenth minute opener for the Robins. But an astonishing miss by Tony Nwachukwu, seven minutes from time, enabled the hosts to see out the game and record their fourth successive victory over Dom Di Paola’s side.
As expected Horsham, thrashed 5-1 on their previous visit to Colston Avenue, fielded a number of changes from that which was forced to travel to Guernsey on Boxing Day with Steve Metcalf, Lewis Hyde, Hakeem Adelakun and Liam MacDevitt returning to the starting eleven and Matt Boiling, Charlie Farmer, Charlie Harris and Alex Duncan included in the sixteen man squad. And it was the visitors, boosted by Tuesday’s 3-1 success, who began the brightest and forced back-to-back corners in just the second minute.
Brannon Daly’s goal came under intense pressure, though, ten minutes in when Jordan Cheadle and Mekhail McLaughlin both had shots blocked in quick succession and, three minutes later, Bradford found the space in which to drill a low shot just past the post with Daly at full stretch. Carshalton continued to pepper Daly’s goal with shots and Cheadle was next to have a pop, sending a tremendous long range piledriver fizzing inches over the crossbar, while Horsham’s first noteworthy effort saw Jack Hartley thrash a loose ball goalwards, some ten yards out, that thumped into McLaughlin and was cleared.
The inevitable breakthrough arrived on seventeen minutes and it was Bradford who claimed it, firing a low left-foot shot into the far corner after being found in space inside the penalty area by Levi Philips. It was the Robins’ first home goal for exactly two hundred and ten minutes and, with the pressure released, Carshalton appeared happy to stroke the ball around for the next ten minutes, during which they seldom ventured into the final third of the pitch.
Horsham’s aims of containment took a hit on the half hour when Lewis Hyde suffered an impact injury and limped off, to be replaced by Matt Boiling, with MacDevitt moving back to midfield and Darren Boswell taking up a more advanced role. It was some good hold up play by MacDevitt, on the edge of the Robins’ box, that set up a chance for Curtis Gayler but he only succeeded in smashing the ball in to the car park. It did, though, signal the Hornets’ most dangerous spell of the half and in the closing moments Dean Bown turned on to an Adelakun pass and shot just beyond the far post before Scott Kirkwood’s clever flick produced a sharp low save from ‘keeper Billy Bishop.
H/T Carshalton Athletic 1 Horsham 0
There was little doubt that the home side were the better side in the first half but, unlike last season’s corresponding fixture, they failed to display the same ruthless cutting edge in attack and it was perhaps this – and the closing minutes of the first half – that gave Horsham the confidence to take the game to their hosts in the second half. Just five minutes after the restart, Bishop fumbled a high cross from Kirkwood but Jack Hartley’s attempt to force home the rebound was blocked by a defender’s boot.
Moments later Gayler shot wide after MacDevitt had run on to Adelakun’s chipped pass to create the chance and then Nwachukwu’s cross was headed wide by MacDevitt, although greater accuracy would have been in vain as referee Craig Kissi has spotted a push by the Horsham man. It was, though, a promising start to the second half by the visitors although Nwachukwu wasted a good opportunity when his pass was picked out by an opponent with the Hornets enjoying a four on three advantage. It was fifteen minutes before Carshalton threatened to extend their lead when Miller played in Brendan Murphy-McVey but he shot straight at Daly, who turned the ball behind for a corner from which Cheadle was unable to convert on the stretch.
Di Paolo sent on Charlie Harris for Bown, shortly after, and within minutes the visitors had levelled. Nwachukwu did well to skip past his marker and burst into the box and, with his teammates appealing that his cross had struck a defender’s hand, Metcalf took a touch to control the ball before drilling it low into the net for the equaliser.
Both sides made changes before the restart, with Boswell making way for Toby House and Ola Sogbanmu and Ricky Korboa replacing Murphy-McVey and Philips. It would prove to be the most telling of substitutions when Korboa beat Daly with a first-time shot after Robins player-manager Peter Adeniyi had first dispossessed Boiling in the centre circle and then picked out his team-mate with the perfect pass. The substitute had been on the pitch just seven minutes.
Harris was booked, a few minutes later, and Horsham’s frustrations increased when Nwachukwu spurned a golden opportunity to level things up once more. Taking Gayler’s pass in his stride, Nwachukwu did brilliantly to ride a challenge and retain his balance, bursting through on goal and drawing a brave save from Bishop. But, as the ball bounced free, Nwachukwu had simply to touch the ball into the empty net from three yards out but he seemed unsure whether to do so with his head or foot and ended up somehow placing his volley wide of the far post. It was an incredible miss but one that seemed only to spur the Hornets on in the closing stages and when Bishop could only palm away Gayler’s free-kick, Kirkwood’s lob took a vital touch off a defender’s head, with Boiling’s header from the resulting corner insufficiently directed to trouble the ‘keeper.
At the other end of the pitch, Korboa looked to capitalise on a long goal kick when he got behind the Horsham defence and drove the ball in from an acute angle that Daly had to get down to save at his near post. Still Horsham came forward, though, and a nice ball by Gayler put House scampering away down the left but his cross-cum-shot just evaded Nwachukwu at the far post before rolling harmlessly wide. There was just time for one final Horsham attack but, when the pass went stray, Korboa embarked on a fifty yard run that ended with a highly ambitious shot that thudded into the advertising hoardings some way wide of Daly’s goal. Hartley and Miller both picked up late bookings before the whistle blew, after some six minutes of stoppage time.
Match report by Mark Wells
Images by John Lines