CSKA Carnabys played out an in-house 2-2 draw to round out another season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking to put the disappointment of last week’s semi-final behind them, the club played its traditional curtailing exhibition match on a rare May morning under the sun and free of rain.
With first and second team players mixed within the Bibs and Blues teams, the game started off on a very even footing. In the opening ten minutes there were no clear cut chances as the game was largely taking place in the midfield; the Bibs tried to play it down the right on several occasions but Bhavnesh Gangajalia thwarted each attack as he commanded the left back position.
Frustration from the Blues was evident as they struggled to find their stride. The usually assured Dave Payne was out of sorts as he misplaced a 6 yard pass. Club captain Jon Brice looked to struggle with a knee problem after an awkward turn, while centre back Ryan Horn looked to take the game into his own hands as he drove forward and unleashed a speculative strike from distance. But moments later Bibs’ player Brad Parker forced a low parry from deputising keeper Liam Kennedy with a cute turn and strike in the box.
The Bibs’ constant pressing paid off in the 25th minute when a loose ball from the back was bundled home by Ricky Patel.
There was almost an instant response from the Blues, as a scything ball from Ash Walker found Chris McCafferty on the by line. His cross was unfortunately too high for the two waiting in the box.
Controversy in the 28th minute as Dave Payne was in an offside position as the game was allowed to play on. He played the ball across to Adam Gent who blazed over with only the keeper to beat. Fortunately for the midfielder, it wouldn’t have counted as the play was pulled back.
The Blues grew into the game from then on, Brice and Gent took a hold of midfield, and McCafferty, Payne and Walker all caused problems going forward. With the last play of the first half, McCafferty sent in a low cross from the right wing and Walker took it first time, driving it low and back across the keeper to make it 1-1.
The Blues started the second half with an opportunity as McCafferty again put in a dangerous cross. The intervening header from Charles Clarkson prevented the waiting Walker from making it 2-1. From the breakaway Patel’s diagonal ball found Brad Parker. His strike came back off the woodwork into the grateful arms of Kennedy.
In the 55th minute the Blues made it 2-1. A corner from Gent is cleared but only back out to him. He sends it back into the box first time and Ash Walker flicked it past Richard Augustus in goal.
With half an hour to go both sides could sense another goal in this game, as Parker twice went close to an equaliser and Payne started to find more space for his trademark runs. It was the Bibs who found the goal: Patel with the header from Mistry’s corner. 2-2.
A looping shot from McCafferty was cleared off the line by Clarkson and there were shouts from the Bibs for a penalty seconds later as Horn appeared to catch Gangajalia in the box as they both went for the loose ball. No penalty given. Horn then almost saw glory with another long range effort that was just too high to trouble the keeper.
Andy Pettitt went down with a head injury in the closing stages of the game after a clash on the wing with McCafferty. After treatment consisting of a sit down and a drink of water he was soon back on the pitch, as concussion regulations have yet to filter down to grassroots football.
Ash Walker’s looping header nestling onto the roof of the net was the final action of the game.
Honours even at 2-2 at the end of a fiercely contested friendly. The Mods now finish the season and in a month’s time begin pre-season training ahead of the 21/22 campaign.