Carshalton Athletic, one of the favourites to challenge for the Bostik South title this season, got their campaign off to a flying start on Saturday, writes James Barrett-Sterling.

The Robins visited league newcomers Ashford United, whom were promoted as Southern Counties East champions, and won a tight affair via a single goal by Brendan Murphy-McVey on the stroke of half-time.

And the 22-year old was keen to point out two aspects of a satisfying afternoon’s work in deepest Kent.

“We didn’t have a great pre-season in terms of results but we felt ready for Saturday in terms of our preparation and fitness,” said the attacking midfielder.

“Most people know of our attacking qualities but we’ve worked a lot on our defensive side and overall structure, so it was great to keep a clean sheet as well as taking the three points.”

Murphy-McVey displayed great composure in the 45th minute by controlling a cross-shot by Tommy Bradford before impudently flicking the ball over sprawling keeper George Kamurasi.

United received a golden chance to level things up from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, but Rory Hill smashed his spot-kick against the Robins’ crossbar.

And the home side finished up with ten men after defender Pat Kingwell, who the referee deemed as ‘the last man’, hauled down Michael Campbell as the striker bore down on goal.

“They were a strong side but our little bit of quality told in the end,” Murphy-McVey said.

“I’ve been told to get into the box more and I ended up on the end of Tommy’s attempt. It was a bit of a five-a-side finish but it felt instinctive.”

Carshalton’s first home game comes this Monday as they go up against fellow promotion favourites Hastings United.

“I’m buzzing for another game so soon after Saturday and I’ve tended to do well against Hastings in the past,” added Murphy-McVey. “I spent a lot of last season injured so I’m feeling fresh and want to help keep this positive start going.”

Carshalton Athletic vs Hastings United kicks-off at 7.45pm on Monday 14th August.