Third in the table and on the back of their 5th win of the season, CSKA Carnabys were back at home this weekend for another clash with Black Dog Oadby.
Gaz Walker and Adam Gent were both fit to return to the starting line-up, but Jon Brice, Jack Lucas, Richard Augustus and Manni Rai were all absent from the side that put two past Tumar last weekend. With the absence of the first choice keeper, Walker deputised between the sticks.
One for the stats-fans as Jack Westley joined Connor Williams in a central defence partnership that featured neither Brice or Walker for the first time in 39 games (April 2019, coincidentally also against Black Dog Oadby).
As Danny Chapman filled in at left back the XI was makeshift, the pitch was almost water-logged and the rain was unrelenting. The hallmarks for a difficult game were all there as the match kicked off.
The standing water made a short passing game impossible. The ball would not travel far or fast, forcing both sides into long balls early on. The Mods still managed to string a few passes together, one such move resulting in Dave Payne’s narrowly wide curling strike from the edge of the box being the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock. Black Dog took the lead not long after, a half clearance fell to the attacker on the edge of the box who struck with too much power for Walker to claw away. 0-1.
The Mods hit back just 5 minutes later. A fumbled save by the goalkeeper fell to the unmarked McCafferty inside the box. In magnificent form he was never going to miss. With that strike he became the first player in the club’s history to reach 100 goals in all competitions.
The goal lifted the spirits of the fans on the side lines, and as the rain eased off and the sun finally turned up, CSKA turned on the style as they closed out the first half with constant pressure and a handful of dangerous attacks .
CSKA picked up where they left off after the break, building confidently from the back and creating chances. CSKA were warned on a couple occasions for dissent due to frustrations from some questionable decisions from the linesman and referee, firstly Dave Payne and then Nathan Tate.
CSKA then took the lead with a stroke of luck and a dose of karma perhaps for the visitors. Adam Gent provided an assist from his corner as the young Black Dog goalkeeper slapped the ball into his own net to make it 2-1.
Unlike the Black Dog ‘keeper, Gaz Walker was in great form in the opposite goal. He claimed every ball into the box and his distribution was incredible. He took the game into his own hands from a goal kick when he spotted Dave Payne in space. His long ball was deftly taken down by the attacker, who then broke forward down the right and then hammered his shot into the bottom left corner for CSKA’s third.
Chris McCafferty notched his 5th goal of the season soon after, when his free-kick was deflected into the goal to make it 4-1.
65 minutes in, Miky Garcia and Ruben Capp were introduced for Sean Brown and Adam Gent respectively with the Mods in cruise control and that almost proved to be their undoing as the game began to slip away from them when an unfortunate slip up from Walker was pounced on by Black Dog to make it 4-2.
CSKA passed it round to retake control of the game but Black Dog were hounding them. As Walker was peppered with long-range efforts, CSKA were resorting to long balls on the counter, but Black Dog kept piling the pressure on; almost immediately winning the ball back and driving forward.
With 20 minutes of the game to go former CSKA midfielder Dan Disarra came on for Black Dog in a desperate effort to find another two goals. His impact was negligible as the Mods took back control with 3 quick fire attacks.
A turning point in the final ten minutes and a double blow for CSKA. Black Dog squeeze a third goal from the edge of the box after a foul-throw was ignored by the referee and Walker’s frustration got the better of him. After the goal his heated disagreement with the referee earned him a yellow card and a temporary dismissal from the pitch, but this late in the game he would not be returning. Sean Brown returned to the field and stepped into goal to replace him.
CSKA were showing their fatigue and dismay on the pitch, labouring to move and to fight in the closing minutes while Black Dog seemed buoyed by the turn of events. With seconds to go Black Dog broke through one on one, and with only the Brown to beat, he made a finger-tip save to deny the equaliser and preserve the three points for CSKA.
Full time 4-3.
A mixed performance from the Mods this weekend. A turgid first half followed by an explosive opening to the second half, then almost losing their nerve in the closing stages. While they may have been unsteady at the back, the attack remains potent, particularly with McCafferty continuing this run of form, but Chapman’s solid performance out of position earned him the Player of the Match award.
If CSKA can find consistency, they have real potential to be a force this season.