Cullen’s smash-and-grab raid
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