Remembrance Sunday became a day to forget for CSKA Carnabys as they succumbed to their 5th defeat of the season at home to Braunstone Park.
On the back of the previous loss and hoping for a response this time out, manager Jon Brice shuffled his pack as Dave Payne dropped to the bench, replaced by Andy Pettitt in attacking midfield, with Brad Parker spearheading the attack. Gareth Walker returned started in central defence for the first time in over a month.
Taking the time to remember those who sacrificed everything for a free world, kick off was delayed to 11:05am to observe a moment of silence.
CSKA started well with strong spells of possession. Parker and Pettitt worked well together to hold up the ball and created a handful of chances for each other. Parker in particular forced the visiting keeper into a couple of fine saves, and felt particularly ambitious with a 40-yard lob which wasn’t far off the target.
Braunstone Park’s chances were limited, but their best came from an indirect free-kick after Augustus appeared to have handled the ball just outside the box. The resultant effort struck the arms of both Gent and McCafferty but heated penalty appeals were waved away by the referee.
Half-way through the first half the game evened out; neither team was really taking control. Minutes later, at the other end, a free-kick was awarded for a similar handball incident much to the fury of the visitors. Jon Brice’s free-kick brought out a superb save once again from the commanding goalkeeper. The Mods were looking to more likely of the two to break the deadlock.
But it was Braunstone who took the lead on the cusp of half-time. While not completely against the run of play, the Carnabys went into the interval a goal down when arguably they should have been the team with the advantage.
The team talk was a good one as the Mods came out full of purpose in the second half, passing their way out from the defence and maintaining possession in the early stages. McCafferty, Brown and Gent pulled the strings in the midfield with their intricate and accurate passing.
With 30 minutes to go the Mods earned a free-kick on the edge of the box when McCafferty was hauled to the ground by some desperately careless defending. The Irishman’s clip into the box caused panic amongst the goalkeeper and defenders, and Hiran Mistry pounced to smash home the equaliser.1-1.
CSKA felt the momentum was with them now and pushed for a winner. Dave Payne was introduced for Mistry after he went down injured. CSKA were having all the possession and piling on all the pressure but in the final third they kept coming up short, with either a misplaced pass or a tame effort on goal. Time was starting to run out for the Mods to find that goal to get back to winning ways.
Then came the sucker punch when a towering header from a corner gave Beaumont Park an undeserved lead. Stunned by the goal CSKA switch off, allowing a third goal when a shot is slipped past Augustus and tapped in by the onrushing attacker. With moments to go a speculative long range effort caught Augustus wrong-footed to make it 4.
Full time 1-4. But that score line does not reflect the game, nor the performance (particularly Andy Pettitt whose effort earned him Player of the Match). While that may not make many feel better after another loss for CSKA but this was a far cry from the sorry performance of last week. It was a gritty battle settled with an agonising late twist, but that’s football. Questions can be asked about the slip in focus after the second goal, but the attitude and fight from CSKA cannot be faulted, with plenty to build on for next week.