Bostik Premier: Potters Bar Town pay the penalty as Carshalton Athletic snatch narrow win
PUBLISHED: 16:54 09 March 2019
A solitary goal early in the second half condemned Potters Bar Town to a 1-0 home defeat against Carshalton Athletic and pushed them closer to the Bostik Premier League trapdoor.
It was harsh on the Scholars, coming after Niko Tzanev had saved a penalty, but it means the gap to the bottom three has now been reduced to five points.
Up until that point they had been comfortable against one of the division’s form teams and even after the goal, the Robins’ only chances came from Bar pushing forward.
However, a lack of goals has been their Achilles heel this year and despite a lot of huff and puff they failed to grab an equaliser.
The flip side of that coin and the most noticeable thing during Potters Bar’s recent run of form has been that they’ve been hard to beat.
The reason for that was hugely evident in the opening 45 minutes.
They dominated possession with a slow and patient build-up, constantly probing the Robins’ defence but without over-committing and making mistakes.
And even when Carshalton did enjoy time on the ball they found the back four, led by joint manager Lee O’Leary and Sean Grace in the middle and assisted by new-boy Alex Nolan and Andy Lomas in the full-back positions, frighteningly solid.
For the neutral it was dull but in the context of the season and Bar’s fight against relegation, it was fascinating.
‘Chances were limited’ is a phrase oft-trotted out by watchers of football, myself included, but it was not one that you could use for the first-half.
Simply put, there were none.
The only time either keeper had a save to make it anger it was from a deep cross from George Nicholas that got caught on the wind and almost ended up sailing over Patrick Ohman’s head.
The second-half thankfully started with much more action although sadly for Bar it also saw them concede.
Dernell Wynter had sent a shot over the bar while Niko Tzanev had kicked out a Bobby Price cross-shot but it was perhaps no surprise to see the opening goal come from a set-piece.
Ricky Koroba had picked up a long ball forward but had to check back after a loose bit of control.
However, when he did he came into contact with O’Leary and the referee said there was a trip.
The on-loan AFC Wimbledon keeper pulled off the save, diving to his left to stop Jacob Mendy’s penalty, but the visitors were the quickest to react and Michael Dixon tapped it home.
Scholars’ reacted by sending on second debutant Zaid Al-Hussaini and he was involved in a big chance to equalise.
It followed a ball over the top that sent Josh Hutchinson away. His shot lacked any sort of power with a poor connection and Ohman kicked it out with the rebound being lashed inches wide by the former Derby County youngster.
The closing stages saw the slow tempo abandoned as the maroon shirts flooded forward.
It allowed space in behind for the Robins with Tzanev showing his class with a point-blank save from a Dixon effort.
He was needed again to make two fine saves and the hope was that would give the attackers confidence to grab a vital equaliser.
It never came though and means there will be more nails bitten before the season’s end.
Potters Bar Town: Tzanev, Nolan, Lomas, Nicholas, O’Leary, Grace, Wynter, Bonnett-Johnson, Hutchinson, Sach, Ward-Cochrane (Al-Hussaini 59).
Subs (not used): Laurencin, Morgan-Cummings, Cole, Powell.
Booked: Grace 49
Carshalton Athletic: Ohman, Price, Hamilton-Downes, Dudley, Koroba (Pattison 64), Ottaway, Morath-Gibbs, Olomowewe, Papoe, Dixon, Mendy.
Subs (not used): Cheadle, Read, Adeniyi, Bishop.
Goal: Dixon 54
Booked: Koroba 8, Papoe 84
HT: Potters Bar Town 0 Carshalton Athletic 0.
Referee: Ashley List (St Neots)