Allen goal settles Curfew encounter
A goal just before the hour by Adam Allen was enough to give the first team all three points away at Chertsey Town on Tuesday night.
It was a scrappy start to the game with both sides struggling to get to grips with a bobbly surface, however we should have opened the scoring after only three minutes, when a long Aaron Bogle clearance found the advancing Liam Holden, but he could only guide his effort wide of the left hand post.
Three minutes later and Jordan Johnson-Palmer and Michael Campbell almost released Adam Allen, but he was denied a chance by a good tackle by Meddie Nsugba. Joe Mead then found Campbell but he was unable to get a shot away thanks to a decent challenge by Tom Batten, as we enjoyed much the better of the opening period.
On the quarter hour Aaron Bogle rugby tackled Joe Jones after he had initially misjudged the ball, and from the free kick by Jamie Ross, Batten put a free header over the crossbar. Joe Gannon saved well from an Allen header low to his right and from the corner we were unable to get a shot away and in the chase back Allen fouled Ross and found his way into the book.
Chertsey were forced into a change midway through the first half, when the pacy Joel Thompson pulled up and was replaced by Connor Cullen (Thompson was struggling after a run that saw his almost collide with the hoardings).
Anson Cousins was fouled by Steve Newman on 25 minutes, but Holden's freekick was cleared, and as Chertsey broke their final ball into Connor Young found him offside. On 27 minutes, Bogle missed a ball over the top to Young, and as he burst towards the area he was denied by a tremendous challenge by Mead. At the other end, and Matt Auletta almost got beyond the Chertsey left back, but Ben Geraghty did well and was able to clear the danger.
On the half hour, Chertsey could have taken the lead when Ross burst down the right wing, and saw his low cross reach the prolific John Pomroy, but the Chertsey forward was denied by an excellent save by Ollie Ellaway. Cousins almost caught Gannon out with a deep cross with had the keeper grasping at thin air and doing just enough to turn the ball behind for a corner, which came to nothing.
Jones skipped passed a couple of challenges on 44 minutes, and it took a combination of Allen and Owen Davies to prevent him from troubling Ellaway, and at the other end Campbell cut inside from the left and his low shot was shovelled behind by Gannon. From the corner George Murphy put his header wide of the left hand post.
We survived a scare early in the second half, when Ellaway miscontrolled a bobbling back pass from Cousins, and hand to scramble to hook the ball clear. Chertsey then had another chance on 53 minutes when Cullen, who impressed when he came on, found Young but his shot went high over the crossbar.
Generally though we were controlling possession in the Chertsey half, restricting them to quick breakaways, but without offering a huge amount of efforts on goal. In fact our first chance of the half came on 56 minutes, when Campbell turned smartly but fired an effort wide of the left hand post.
Allen struck the only goal of the game on 58 minutes, when a mazy run by Auletta saw him drift passed two or three would be challengers, and find Johnson-Palmer, his shot was deflected up into the air, and met on the volley by Campbell. Keeper Gannon saved to his left, but couldn't hold the ball and Allen forced the rebound home for 1-0.
Five minutes later and Allen went close again, when his shot bought a decent save out of Gannon, with Chertsey scrambling the loose ball clear before Allen could latch onto the rebound. With twenty minutes remaining, Auletta eased his way beyond Newman, but Batten was across to clear the ball for a corner. From the corner Davies put a header over the bar.
Johnson-Palmer was hauled down by Geraghty on 72 minutes, and from the Holden delivery, Allen headed back across goal and the Auletta flick bought a good save out of Gannon with his feet. Auletta again went close with just under ten minutes remaining after a knock down by Davies, and at the other end Ross broke quickly, and he was denied by a Davies challenge.
Newman swung in a free kick on 82 minutes, which was headed back into the danger area by Bogle, before Holden launched clear. Johnson-Palmer then weaved beyond a couple of players but nobody was on hand to turn home his low cross.
Darren Salmon made his first changes on 85 minutes, with Charlie Emery and Danny Fernandez on for Adam Allen and Michael Campbell. Fernandez should have sealed the game on 89 minutes, when he was released by Emery but after his first touch took him clear of Batten, the less said about his second the better.
Salmon made his final change deep into stoppage time, replacing Auletta with 16 year old Eric Soares, who became the youngest outfield player to represent the club at Step 6 or above (with only Holden in the Surrey South East Combination days beating him).
Full time came with another three points and up to 9th in the table.