After several indifferent results over the last few weeks, the 1s had an opportunity to take the scalp of West Wickham who are currently top of the league but more importantly our local rivals.
The team were faced with the prospect of taking a bare 11 to the game which included 'Der Kaiser' (P.Gunter), our ongoing injury problems and absenteeism are still plaguing us. However, at the last hour, Jamie Fascione was recalled to the 1s for the 47th time in his career, which meant that Der Kaiser could rest easy on the bench. A quick note on Fash's inclusion, Wiggy explained that Fash had got in at 5-30am that morning and that this was a bonus, if he had got in any later then it might have affected his performance on the pitch. Apparently, this would have been a relatively quiet night for Fash, as you can imagine this put the whole changing room at ease.
The team reverted to a 4-4-2 formation and we kicked off with the sun shining on a good pitch with a reasonable amount of spectators to boot.
Carshalton began the game at a high tempo, the defence was alert and snuffled out any West Wickham attacks, the midfield was competitive and linked up well with the attack and with Wiggy and Ryan Polley upfront, this seemed to give their defence a few things to think about. West Wickham attempted to play a passing game but this was nullified by the industrious midfield, Leachy and Michael Winyard worked hard to disrupt their play and in turn create possession for our wide men. The best move of the match involved Carshalton winning the ball in midfield, threading several passes out to the left wing and Fash powering a header just wide from the resulting left wing cross.
As half time approached, Wiggy found some space down the left channel and although hitting the target didn't make their keeper work hard enough for a presentable chance.
Into injury time, West Wickham found space at the right edge of the penalty box and Neil Backers made a fine block from a fierce drive. In fairness, this was West Wickham's only good chance in a very tight first half
The half time team talk centred on keeping the tempo at a high level, concentrating at set pieces and trying to disrupt West Wickham's attempts to pass the ball.
The second half began very much like the first ended, both teams equally matched, equally competitive. Twenty minutes in to the half, a West Wickham player found room that he shouldn't have and centred the ball from an acute angle. This seemed to cause confusion in our box and a ball that should have been cleared fell to one of their players who bundled into the corner of the net. We shouldn't have conceded and the whole team knew it.
The rest of the half was encouraging, we maintained our tempo, we remained competitive and gave them plenty to think about. On another day, Ryan Polley would have bagged at least 1 goal, he had 2 good chances and made the keeper make quality saves on both occasions. On this occasion it wasn't our day, we eventually went down to the single goal, which I think both sides would have agreed was a little unfair on Carshalton.
The changing room was, as you might understand, a little dejected afterward. Ryan Polley and Paul Pearce seemed disappointed with their personal performances. This should not be the case, Ryan Polley will go on to bag lots of goals and should be worrying more when he is not getting chances. Paul Pearce is pacy and adept at going round the opposition, however, on this occasion he was required to be industrious and disciplined which he did to good effect.
If Carshalton can play at that tempo with that level of commitment every week then we will trouble most teams. It's too late for this season but that's the sort of performance we should be aiming for in the future.
P.S Fash, there's still magic in them boots.
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