Horsham and Carshalton Athletic had to settle for a share of the spoils, as the two sides played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw at The Camping World Community Stadium.
Ahead of the game, Hornets boss Dom Di Paola said that he was “wary of the threat” posed by Carshalton who , after their slow start to the campaign, were now showing the sort of form that saw them finish as Premier Division runners up last season.
He was not wrong, Carshalton are indeed a very good side, full of pace and invention, but as regular followers of the Hornets will know we are a pretty good team too!
In a pulsating match full of chances, attempts on goal and incidents, the Hornets contained and indeed frustrated The Robins. At times the blistering pace of the visitors attack threatened but Horsham, defending in numbers – especially during the second half – had a good measure of control until the 36th minute when Carshalton took the lead through a penalty converted by Omar Koroma.
However, the Hornets were not behind for long and completely surprised the visitors with two quick silver strikes just before half time through prolific marksman Chris Smith, while Charlie Harris finished cooly to ensure Horsham headed in to the break with a 2-1 lead .
Clearly the visitors boss Peter Adeniyi felt he needed to up the ante, and on 55 minutes made two substitutions . The veteran player-manager might well be 40 year old, but he is still a fine player at this level and he showed his class when he brought himself on to replace goalscorer Koroma, while Emold Haxhiu came on for Ola Sogbannu. It worked, The Robins were more dangerous in the second period, particularly in the last 20 minutes, and unfortunately the Hornets could not hang on to their lead . Carshalton captain Bobby Price capitalised on a rare mistake by Horsham goalkeeper George Bentley to finish smartly from close range and earn his side a share of the spoils.
The game opened at a high tempo with both sides probing for space. Horsham looked nice and compact with Alex Kelly sitting in front of his back four allowing Charlie Harris the opportunity to support his attackers. Rob O’Toole was deployed in a wide left position and he created Horsham’s first good opportunity on ten minutes with a long driving run down the left wing, holding off several challenges, before putting in a cross but the ball was cleared for a corner.
The visitors then showed what they were capable of with a lightening quick move involving Christie Pattisson, who latched on to a through ball and smashed a shot which George Bentley did well to palm away to safety. Just after, Pattisson showed Harvey Sparks a clean pair of heels to zoom in on goal, yet the Horsham full-back’s attempt to save the day resulted in a clumsy foul when he checked him just outside the box. Despite the protests of the away supporters who appealed for a red card, the referee issued a yellow card after some lengthy deliberation. The set piece was taken by Carshalton’s Jordan Cheadle who sent a thundering shot on target which Bentley managed to palm on to the bar for a corner.
Horsham’s midfield maestro Charlie Harris went close with a trademark thunderbolt from a central position 25 yards from goal that the Robins ‘keeper Kieron Perntreoy managed to palm away to safety and moments later, Harris received a sideways pass from George Hayward and tested the keeper again from distance, again Perntreoy saved well .
There was a chance at the other end just on the half-hour mark when in-form Carshalton striker Ricky Korboa – who had been kept quiet until this point – forced Bentley into a smart save at his near post.
The visitors had the ball in the net when Omar Koroma rose highest to head in from a corner but luckily for Horsham the linesman had spotted a push and the effort was disallowed by the referee.
However the visitors did not have to wait long to take the lead. In the 36th minute, Alex Kelly tripped Carshalton player Tommy Bradford as he advanced into the Horsham box, giving referee Jonathan Creswick an easy decision to point to the spot. Up stepped Omar Koroma to plant the ball firmly to Bentley’s left for his fifth goal of the season.
But Horsham were not behind for long and two goals in the space of three minutes turned the game completely on its head. The equaliser came when a long cross in from Sparks was partially cleared but fell to Horsham’s ‘fox-in-the-box’ Chris Smith who smashed the ball into the net. The visitors had little chance to digest that, when they conceded once again moments afterwards. Charlie Harris punished the visitors, scoring with a fine effort low down from 22 yards, Perntreoy managed to get a hand to the ball but could not prevent it from flying into the net just inside the left hand post.
H/T: Horsham 2 Carshalton Athletic 1
Robins player-manager Peter Adeniyi responded by making a double substitution early in the second half, bringing himself and Ernold Haxhiu on, as replacements for Omar Koroma and Ola Sogbanmu respectively. It seemed to work, energising the visitors, and they were able to have a period of dominance, without troubling the composed home defence unduly.
Korboa, well shackled in the first half, was looking more of a threat and in the 60th minute his turn of pace saw him move into space with the ball, but his bending strike was off target. Just after substitute Haxhiu had an effort deflected for a corner.
On 63 minutes Di Paola replaced Hayward with Jack Brivio to beef up Horsham’s midfield and also replaced Smith – who had increasingly been cutting a lone figure up front – with Zak Newton while Rob O’Toole was pushed into a more central role.
Horsham still had a degree of control, but as the game progressed into the last 20 minutes the visitors were cranking up the pressure which finally told in the 77th minute when the Hornets’ rear-guard was breached. The quickest man on the pitch – Korboa flew past Sparks and put in a low driven cross which Bentley fumbled into the path of Carshalton skipper Bobby Price and he made no mistake from close range to tie the game.
Unfazed, Bentley made a good stop to save the blushes of Joe Shelley, who made a bit of a mess of clearing the ball, allowing Korboa a shot on target that the Hornets shot-stopper gathered.
It was not all one way however, and with the game now stretched a break by O’Toole turning inside a defender and then laying off the ball to the unmarked Kieran Pamment saw a great chance go begging when he put his right footed shot high over the bar and the visiting goalkeeper made a great save in the dying minutes to palm Harris’ shot wide of the goal as the clock ticked down.
Late on a second booking for the Robins defender Jordan Cheadle, following a cynical tackle on O’Toole resulted in his dismissal, but there was insufficient time for the Hornets to take advantage of the extra man as the referee blew to end the match.
It was a game that had everything and thoroughly entertained the crowd of 556 here at the Camping World Community Stadium. A draw was probably a fair result with both teams putting in a tremendous effort.
Reporter: Darryl Jacobs
Match Sponsor: Jeff Barrett
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