Birstall Social
CSKA Carnabys
Sunday 21 April 2024
School Lane
Referee: Ben Sefton

Match Summary

⚽️ Lewis
⚽️ Capp
🅰️🅰️ Huang

CSKA were back league action after their cup dreams ended last week and made the short trip down the A6 to a sunny School Lane for the clash against 5th place Birstall Social.

Chris McCafferty was back in the dugout for CSKA, whilst several players returned to the squad having been ineligible for the Arthur Moore Cup Semi Final.

McCafferty rotated the starting XI to accommodate for the players who missed out last week, with Will McNamee, Josh McDougall, Roger Huang, Matt Danes, Raj Bhanji and James Lewis all named in the XI. New signing Theo Grant was on the bench.

Josh McDougall was lively right from the start attacking the right flank with real purpose and getting some good deliveries in. On the other flank, Roger Huang was once again showing us great energy and skill to give his man constant problems, but Birstall defended solidly and were quick to crowd us out any time we got the ball into the box.

Birstall had a brief spell of dominance and a goal line clearance buy their own player was followed shortly after with a shot that clipped the outside of the post on the way past. Some questionable challenges were left unpunished by the referee who showed no interest in getting any cards out for this game, much to the frustration of McCafferty and some of the players.

CSKA survived and regained control of the game. The central midfileders were having a lot of joy on the ball with Matt Danes in particular having a fine game, and was very unlucky not to score when his headed effort was well saved after a lovely cross from Josh McDougall now playing on the left. Hiran Mistry came closer to opening the scoring when his long range effort dipped late and smacked off the crossbar. But the breakthrough came when Will McNamee released a perfectly weighted ball to Roger Huang who beat his man before laying it off to James Lewis who hit a lovely left footed curler into the top corner to make it 1-0.  

CSKA regrouped at half-time keen to have a good solid start and not concede cheaply. Dan Danes was back in the defensive line again today and looked fairly comfortable with anything that came his way. Alongside him Raj Bhanji and Connor Williams were strong in their challenges and rarely troubled.

New signing Theo ‘Troy’ Grant came on early in the second half for Williams and within seconds put in a strong double tackle on the Birstall winger, effectively ending his game. When the defence was breached the shots weren’t brilliant, or Tej was alert to sweep up everything, and probably gathered every second half set-piece that was thrown into him.

A sin-bin for James Lewis added some late drama with CSKA having to work to the bones with 10 men, Dave Payne and Ruben Capp were introduced in this period to add more energy and CSKA survived. Caine Ward was introduced for the final 15 minutes to help get us over the line and made some brilliant pressing runs late in the game to force wayward clearances by the Birstall goalkeeper.

Ruben Capp came agonisingly close to his first ever CSKA goal when his effort was tipped just around the post, whilst Matt Danes almost had a speculative effort creep into the top corner but again well saved by the goalkeeper. But the high press paid off in injury time as a rushed clearance from the goalkeeper fell to Ruben Capp who calmly lofted the ball over him and the backtracking defence for his first ever CSKA goal, from some 35 yards out.

Mr Sefton drew proceedings to a close right as the goal went in. A lovely win for CSKA that now guarantees them a top 4 finish in Division One.

Manager's Comments

Difficult side to play against always, and we had to grind for our three points today. Thankfully the lads were all fully up to the task in hand and the work-rate shown to protect our lead for the majority of the game was a pleasure to watch. 

We shifted the team selection around a bit this week, and showcased the quality we possess in this squad by having a command of the game away from home. 

The football was a bit rushed at times, and probably wasn’t one of our best performances of the season, but given some of our strong performances that has seen us come away empty handed, it’s nice to occasionally win a game in this manner. 

Absolutely delighted for Ruben to get his first ever CSKA goal today too. He’s been so unlucky in many games not to be on the scoresheet. His efforts in games throughout this season have sometimes gone under the radar, but he’s been a hell of a player this season and a great moment for him today (….we wont talk about how the rest of his evening panned out!)


CSKA Man of the Match

Despite given me a fright during the warm up when he somehow rolled his ankle stretching (??), Tej was in fine form and alert to everything today. Playing with a more unfamiliar back line, between himself and his defence they coped with any wave of attack and made some of their better efforts look fairly tame. 

A clean sheet for Tej is a lovely way to exorcise the demons from his last encounter with Birstall.


Starting XI

1T Shah 90
3C Williams 55
6D Danes 90
40R Bhanji 90
8H Mistry 90
28W McNamee 90
26J McDougall 70
38M Danes 90
50J Lewis ⚽75
27Z Huang 🅰️90
45O Arnold 70

Bench Used

7D Payne 20
14T Grant 35
17C Ward 15
25R Capp ⚽20