Vines helping the Robins end on a high
4:15pm Thursday 12th April 2012 in Sport
Carshalton Athletic went unbeaten over the Easter weekend, picking up four points from six including a draw at current league leader Billericay Town, writes James Barrett.
The Robins travelled to the table-toppers and went behind after four minutes when a Sam Lechmere cross deceived keeper Nick Hamann in the high wind and crept into the far post via a touch from Kieran Murphy.
Carshalton slowly came back into the game against a powerful Billericay team and, after Luke Pigden and Ola Sogbanmu almost equalised in the first half, it was young striker Sonny Ayres that restored parity on 75 minutes.
Captain David Ray played a neat forward pass into the feet of Sogbanmu and the striker fed a first time ball into Ayres’ forward run. He took a touch before coolly slotting across an on-rushing Dale Brightly into the bottom far corner.
“Billericay is the hardest place we’ve had to play at this season,” said Robins manager Paul Dipre.
“You can see why they are the league leaders as they are a powerful side, their pitch suits their style of play and their massive support definitely adds a ‘twelve man’ to battle against.
“We had a gruelling midweek game before this while our opponents were resting but, while they are playing for the league title, we were playing for pride. To come away with a point under those conditions was fantastic.”
Carshalton then put Tooting and Mitcham United to the sword on Bank Holiday Monday as a ‘perfect’ hat-trick from striker Paul Vines completed an impressive week for him.
In a game which The Robins dominated from start to finish, Vines put his side 1-0 up on 17 minutes. Luke Pigden played a sublime curling first time cross that split the Tooting defence and Vines latched onto it at the back post and crashed a right foot volley back across keeper Darren Behcet.
His second goal was equally impressive; Ola Sogbanmu chested a long ball first time into his strike partner’s path and Vines crashed in a half volley from 25 yards into the top corner.
Goalkeeper Luke Badiali made his league debut for Carshalton in this game and he played his part in the clean sheet when he gathered a low Ryan James free kick before Vines completed his hat-trick by nodding in Billy Crook’s cross just after the hour.
It was the strikers’ 27th goal of the season and his seventh in four games.
“Tooting weren’t at their best and, after playing four games in ten days, you could see we weren’t as sharp as usual too. However we worked very hard and produced enough quality to win very comfortably,” added Dipre.
“Vines rises to the big occasion and this game had his name written all over it from the start. He’ll get all the glory but, more importantly, it was a good team effort.
“Over the past few games I have been very impressed with the attitude in the dressing room and out on the pitch, with many players really coming into their own.”
Carshalton Athletic next travel to Lowestoft Town on Saturday for the third to last league game of the season.