Carshalton Athletic’s promotion hopes took a huge knock on Saturday as they lost at home against play-off rivals Greenwich Borough.
In a game neither club could really afford to lose, Borough midfielder Charlie MacDonald hit a first-half hat-trick as the Robins struggled to get out of first gear for most of the match.
The eventual 3-1 loss was a third defeat on the spin for Carshalton, which sees them drop to sixth in the Ryman South, while the majority of clubs around them still have games in hand.
The visitors were given the chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute as Carshalton defender Kalvin Morath-Gibbs slid in late on winger Liam MacDevitt and MacDonald made no mistake from the penalty spot.
And he doubled that lead in stylish fashion just four minutes later as, after a fortunate ricochet saw the ball fall into his path, he beat goalkeeper Joe Tupper from 20 yards with the outside of his right foot.
A shell-shocked Carshalton rallied but found themselves confronted by a Borough eleven determined not to give them time on the ball and they fell further behind in the 34th minute – their defence twice failing to clear a cross into their box which MacDonald eventually flicked home.
While much of Carshalton’s promotion hopes have been built upon the goals of Tommy Bradford, Ricky Korboa and Mickel Miller this season - the trio currently have 64 between them in all competitions – Miller’s late strike came only as scant consolation for an improved second-half showing on Saturday.
So the pressure remains on the Robins for their next game away at Hythe Town, another club dreaming of promotion whom sit just one point behind their Surrey-based visitors.
Town will have the psychological edge having won the majority of their meetings with Carshalton over the past three seasons, including a 3-0 win in Surrey last December, but they lost prolific striker Alfie May to League Two outfit Doncaster Rovers in January.
Conversely, Carshalton will be hoping 19-goal Korboa will be fit enough to play a part at the weekend – he’s been out for two months but, much to the delight of the Colston Avenue faithful, he was a surprise inclusion on the bench last time out.
Kick-off at the Reachfields Stadium is 3pm on Saturday 11th March.