Cullen’s smash-and-grab raid

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page - Com­bined Coun­ties Park­side Sevens

HOW Chert­sey Town man­aged to win their Premier Di­vi­sion fix­ture against Red­hill was the ques­tion on sup­port­ers’ lips as they left Al­wyns Lane on Satur­day.

Out­played in the first half, Town only came to life with just over half an hour re­main­ing, af­ter a change in for­ma­tion and timely late sub­sti­tu­tion.

A dou­ble from debu­tant Michael Aga­bodu and goals of the high­est qual­ity from Mar­cus Meal­ing and Con­nor Cullen made the vis­i­tors pay for ear­lier waste­ful­ness.

Chert­sey had fielded an un­fa­mil­iar line up; in ad­di­tion to Aga­bodu, new sign­ings Stu­art Bald­win and Daniel Price started whilst Ben Ger­agthy, Du­jon De­sagu­rante, Joe Blen­dell, Joe Adoo-Peters, Steve Brown, Jack Wad­more and Jamie Ross were all miss­ing.

It was hardly sur­pris­ing Chert­sey’s first-half per­for­mance left a lot to be de­sired as the play­ers strug­gled to string passes to­gether.

An early mis­take sec­onds into the game by Tommy Bat­ten, the first of many, set the tone as Red­hill were half a yard quicker.

Af­ter con­trol­ling pro­ceed­ings, the vis­i­tors took a de­served early lead when Mo­hammed Di­akite was al­lowed two swings at the ball from close range and scram­bled it home.

And Red­hill al­most dou­bled their ad­van­tage five min­utes later when Martin Smith headed over.

Chert­sey’s first chance came on 19 min­utes when Shel­ton Gooden tested keeper Davouy Carpanini from a nar­row an­gle but at the other end, Red­hill were be­ing af­forded far too much space.

Kery Kedze waltzed through a static Chert­sey de­fence but fired across goal and Di­akite had a chance to press home Red­hill’s ad­van­tage when set up by Steve Bur­ford but blasted over.

Chert­sey had a chance to level, Aga­bodu fluff­ing his lines af­ter a pin­point de­liv­ery from Andy Cross­ley.

Town’s play was sloppy though, as Kedze and Smith wasted fur­ther chances for the vis­i­tors but with 42 min­utes on the clock, dither­ing in the Red­hill de­fence let Chert­sey in for an un­likely equaliser.

A long punt up­field by goal­keeper Matt Carr wasn’t dealt with by ei­ther Red­hill cen­tre-back and Aga­bodu nipped in to lob Carpanini. Red­hill needed only six sec­ond-half min­utes to re­gain the lead, and not be­fore Kedze had missed a sit­ter. Yards in front of an open goal he some­how con­trived to slice the ball across the tar­get but Di­akite made amends mo­ments later.

It was all too easy for Red­hill and Carl Tay­lor’s re­sponse was to make a change. Juan Oviedo made way for Joe Jones, al­low­ing Meal­ing to play fur­ther up­field in a more fa­mil­iar striker’s role, along­side Aga­bodu and Bukele Mukudi.

It took a while for the change to take ef­fect – Carr had to save smartly from a Smith header – but Meal­ing lev­elled just past the hour with a well-taken in­di­vid­ual ef­fort, rid­ing two tack­les be­fore curl­ing be­yond Carpanini.

The game al­most swung back in Red­hill’s favour but an ex­cel­lent dou­ble save by Carr de­nied the vis­i­tors, block­ing a point-blank header from Smith be­fore tip­ping over the fol­low-up from Gary Abiso­gun.

Chert­sey had come alive and looked just as likely to score as Meal­ing put Gooden through on goal and his ef­fort was well saved by Carpanini.

Meal­ing then found the tar­get from a 25-yard free­kick be­fore Price al­most opened his ac­count when his shot was blocked by Carpanini and his ef­fort on the re­bound was ac­ro­bat­i­cally cleared off the line.

With the clock tick­ing down, Cullen came off the bench to re­place Makudi and made an in­stant im­pact. With a minute of nor­mal time re­main­ing, he found space in a wide left po­si­tion and his ac­cu­rate cross was tapped in by Aga­bodu to give the hosts the most un­likely of leads.

And to rub salt in the Lob­sters’ wounds, a stun­ning strike by Cullen sealed the win – again out wide on the left, the sub­sti­tute chested down a long rak­ing ball into the cor­ner with his first touch and with his sec­ond struck a sub­lime vol­ley into the top far cor­ner.

Staines Lam­mas Youth un­der-16s won 4-0 at Sheer­wa­ter Youth in their first game of the sea­son, in the Pre­mier­ship di­vi­sion of the Sur­rey Pri­mary League.

Af­ter a shaky first five min­utes Staines set­tled and dom­i­nated.

The goals were scored by Tommy Turner, Thomas Coombes, Zayaan Sadiq and Con­nor McShane.

Park­side School, in Cob­ham, hosted its an­nual

foot­ball tour­na­ment last week.

The school in­vited 16 Sur­rey prep schools to com­pete and the hosts’ U13s won the tour­na­ment for the first time in 11 years.

“A fan­tas­tic event ev­ery year, it was made more spe­cial by a hun­gry un­der-13s Park­side team who fought hard to re­gain the ti­tle af­ter 11 years,” said Dono­van Hall, Park­side’s act­ing di­rec­tor of sport. “We are ex­tremely proud of our boys.”

Su­per sub Con­nor Cullen

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