Robins frustrated by relegated Aveley

First published in Carshalton Athletic

Carshalton Athletic ended their home league fixtures with a 0-0 draw against relegated Aveley at Colston Avenue on Saturday, writes James Barrett.

Despite dominating possession and having some good first half chances The Robins could not convert their dominance into goals and Aveley played their part in a frantic last 10 minutes in the pouring rain.

Manager Paul Dipre kept faith with the same starting line-up that narrowly lost at Lowestoft Town last week except young winger Sean O’Toole moved up from the substitute bench to left midfield as injury hit Luke Pigden was not risked after consultation.

It was Billy Crook that had the game’s first real strike on goal after 13 minutes, but his angled left foot drive was always rising and did not trouble keeper David McCartney.

O’Toole was playing his part in only his second first team appearance this season, not least when he ran at right back Liam Thomas and nutmegged him, but his cross was just beaten away from Paul Vines.

It was Vines at the heart of the next attack when he flicked on a Nick Hamann goalkick and won the ball himself on the turn. He powered into the Aveley area, shrugged off Steve Willis but his curled effort went straight to McCartney.

It was then Ayres’ turn to work the visiting keeper as he swivelled neatly on a pass into his feet 15 yards out from goal, but McCartney got down well on his left to smother the effort.

It took Aveley until the 37th minute to register a real threat on Hamann’s goal when Paul Burnett shook off the attentions of O’Toole and Ricardo Joseph to drive into the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

The Robins began the second half with the same intensity and Vines headed a Crook free kick just wide within a minute of the restart.

However, the resolute Aveley defence was in no mood to concede and continued to frustrate Carshalton time and time again as the heavens opened and rain lashed down on the players.

Just after the hour mark Ayres almost put the men in red ahead. O’Toole forced a corner which was only half cleared. Luke Nolan put the ball back into the mass of bodies and Ayres almost prodded home at the back post but for the quick hands of McCartney.

Ayres was replaced by Juan Onieva-Montalban, who was making his debut, shortly after that but Aveley grew in confidence the longer the game stayed level.

Hamann had to save well from both a close range stab from Steven Demetriou and a half volley by Dee Okojie as the game entered an exciting last 10 minutes.

O’Toole gave away a free kick just outside his own area which Sam Holloway curled towards the bottom right corner, but Hamann got down low to save and hold onto the ball.

Onieva-Montalban then had arguably the best chance of match on 86 minutes. Vines flicked on a long ball and the Spanish forward got ahead of his marker to run in on goal. He opted for power rather than placement and the ball cleared the crossbar by a yard as it rose over McCartney.

Hamann then tipped a stinging drive from Thomas over his bar and, from the corner which was cleared, Michael Kamara blocked a shot from namesake Alfred Kamara from two yards after the ball beat Hamann.

Carshalton wrap up their season with a trip to Wingate and Finchley on Saturday.

Carshalton Athletic: Hamann; Nolan, Kamara, Roberts, R Joseph; Frith (Laflin – 65), Ray (c), Crook, O’Toole (A Joseph – 90); Vines, Ayres (Onieva-Montalban – 70).

Unused subs: Dudzinski, Adjei.

Aveley: McCartney (c), Thomas, Holloway, Stevenson, Olatunbosun, Willis, Demetriou (Sellears – 65), Kamara, Kalipha (Holland – 57), Burnett, Okojie (Thompson – 87).

Unused subs: Francis, Brown

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