CSKA suffered another home defeat, as Van Circle became the latest visitors to Rawlins who would drive home happy.
Despite defeat last time out against Braunstone Park, CSKA were in confident mood ahead of the game, given the performance levels against the league leaders. Captain Dave Payne returned to the starting eleven and there was a debut for young Arun Bhalla after impressive displays for CSKA II. The big change was between the sticks as Sean Brown deputised for the absent Rich Augustus. Andy Pettitt’s MotM display ensured he kept his place.
From the get-go it was obvious that both sides were here to play football, some excellent exchanges of passing from both teams set the tempo, and despite a couple of strong early challenges, the players shook hands and got up and got on with the game.
Arun Bhalla on his home debut was looking the part at left-back making some very good interceptions and starting new phases of play with some neat passing. Van Circle took the lead after a dinked ball over the top allowed the striker who was just onside to tuck it home. But CSKA responded well, and Hiran Mistry got himself into an area where he’s proving to be very dangerous, and his strike was too hot for the keeper to hold onto as it bundled into the net.
Chris McCafferty was introduced in the second half and immediately got involved in the game, albeit for the wrong reason. After an impressive backtracking run to dispossess the attacker, McCafferty’s clearance to prevent the corner went straight to the left winger whose cross was headed in beyond Brown to make it 1-2.
McCafferty wasted no time however in making amends, from the kick-off, Adam Gent’s delicious through pass was met by McCafferty who beared through on goal and despatched clinically to bring it level again at 2-2.
As the game wore on, Van Circle proved to be too much in front of goal. Despite best efforts from Sean Brown, the vistors found their swagger and raced into a 5-2 lead. A consolation Danny Chapman goal gave The Mods some hope, but chances didn’t come and the game ended.
Debutant Arun Bhalla was voted MotM for a fine display.