Horsham 2 Carshalton Athletic 2: Hornets share the spoils with ten-man Robins

Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards

Horsham went a point clear at the top of the BetVictor Premier Division after an enthralling 2-2 home draw with ten-man Carshalton Athletic this (Tuesday) evening.

In a frantic end to the first half, an Omar Koroma spot-kick put the Robins in front before Chris Smith and Charlie Harris struck in the final four minutes of the half to give the Hornets a half-time lead

Carshalton were much-improved in the second half and equalised through Bobby Price. Horsham had two golden chances at the death to take the points before the Robins' Jordan Cheadle was sent off for two yellow cards.

Horsham lead second-placed Folkestone Invicta by a point although The Camping World Community Stadium outfit have played a game more.

Dominic Di Paola made three changes from Saturday's tense 1-0 win over Hornchurch. Alex Kelly, Dylan Merchant and George Hayward came in for Jack Brivio, Lea Dawson and the injured Will Miles. Club legend Gary Charman found himself on the bench after recovering from his lengthy shoulder injury.

The opening ten minutes saw Horsham control the game without forging any gilt-edged chances. The best opportunity came after two minutes when a Kieron Pamment cross found Rob O'Toole and the winger produced a delicate back-heeled flick that was straight at Robins keeper Kleton Perntreou.

The visitors replied with the game's first real clear cut chance. A ball over the Hornets defence on 12 minutes was well taken by Christie Pattisson. The forward let fly with a powerful shot that was beaten away by George Bentley.

Two minutes later Pattisson was hauled down after putting on the afterburners to speed past Harvey Sparks. The left back hauled down the Robins player just outside the penalty box.

The Carshalton players protested fiercely for a red card but referee Jonathan Creswick brandished a yellow. From the free-kick Cheadle's stinging free kick was expertly palmed over the bar by Bentley.

Harris then hit a pair of long-range thunderbolts in quick succession that forced two excellent saves from Perntreou.

On the half hour mark a deft touch from Pattison played in Ricky Korboa. The Robins number nine fired at the near post but Bentley did brilliantly to turn the ball away.

Carshalton had the ball in the back of the net from the resulting corner. Koroma leapt highest to bullet home a header but the referee blew his whistle and ruled the goal out for a push by Koroma.

But six minutes later the Robins did have a goal. A powerful run from Tommy Bradford saw him burst into the area. As the midfielder turned he was brought down by Alex Kelly and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Koroma and he coolly slotted the ball past Bentley to give the visitors the lead.

Conceding the penalty seemed to spur the Hornets into life and they needed only five minutes to level. A deep cross from Pamment beat everyone except Sparks. The left back swung a ball into the box to Smith who swept home first time to equalise.

And two minutes before half-time, Horsham completed the turnaround. Harris had been threatening from range and this time he got his reward.

The number ten showed great strength to stay on his feet and muscle his way to the D. Harris unleashed a hard driven shot that Perntreou could only get his hand to give the Hornets the lead at the break.

The Robins had the first chance of the second half as Ola Sogbanmu headed straight at Bentley on 50 minutes.

O'Toole had a chance to double Horsham's advantage six minutes later. A corner found him at the back post and the midfielder flashed a shot that was batted away by Perntreou.

The hour mark ushered a period of sustained Carshalton pressure. Substitute Ernold Haxhiu's shot from just outside of the area was deflected behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Koroma then fizzed a shot inches past Bentley's far post before the Hornets stopper saved down low to deny Korboa.

The hosts were slightly under the cosh but they were still capable of troubling Carshalton. Perntreou had to tip away an inviting low cross from the lurking Smith.

The Robins had been gradually turning the screw in the second half and they got their reward on 77 minutes under slightly fortuitous circumstances. Bentley looked to have under Korboa's driven cross under control but keeper spilt the ball into the path of Bobby Price who tucked home from two-yards out.

The Hornets were now under severe pressure. Bentley was full-stretch to keep Pattisson out before he used his feet to thwart Carshalton at the far post.

Four minutes from time Horsham spurned a superb chance to snatch another last-gasp win. O'Toole buccaneered forward before playing a perfectly weighted cross into Pamment at the far post. The winger steadied himself and let fly but his attmept flew high and wide over the bar.

And with a minute to go Perntreou again denied Horsham, this time palming away a curling Harris shot.

There was still time for more drama as Cheadle was shown a second yellow card at the death for a foul on O'Toole.

Horsham: Bentley, Mills, Sparks, Kelly, Shelley, Merchant, O'Toole, Hayward (Brivio 63), Smith (Newton 73), Harris, Pamment (Metcalf 90+2). Unused: Charman, Harding.

Referee: Jonathan Creswick

Attendance: 556