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Balham 2 - 1 Alton

03 Apr 2023

This defeat was a difficult one to take for the visitors. At the end of the game their efforts were applauded by the 20 or so visiting supporters who made the long journey to Croydon on Saturday with the game in doubt up until 1pm.

Balham 2 - 1 Alton

Match report by Dave Hawtin

Balham’s mid table position belies the fact that they are one of the better footballing sides who try to play out from the back. That in itself leaves them vulnerable.

They took the lead on 10 minutes with a shot from the angle that made its way into the net through a tangle of defenders' legs. From then on the visitors grew into the game and like the home side they played some super possession football on the difficult surface creating the chances.

Having gained the initiative, the equaliser came on 38 minutes. Rowan Sharratt shot home from 20 yards even though the keeper got a hand to it. In the last 5 minutes of the half he might have had a hat trick, ghosting in at the back post his header just evaded the back post. Just minutes later he drove into the box and struck a shot against the post. On both occasions the build up to the chance came from a team collective of slick passing involving numerous players.

The second half began as nip and tuck with neither side able to create a clear cut chance as both defences held firm.

On 60 minutes the home side re-took the lead. Alton survived a stroke of luck as a shot from the edge of the box struck the right upright and in the same incident the ball was deflected high into the air wrong footing all of the defenders the spinning ball falling nicely for the giant centre forward who reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

For the last 30 minutes it was the visitors who pressed, dominating territory and possession whilst creating several more decent chances.

Matt Benham fired just over from 20 yards and Ed Dryden was just wide with a header from a corner.

With the home side holding on the afternoon was summed up with just minutes to go. Matt Graham delivered a super free kick in from the right and with an avalanche of attackers desperate to get a touch the ball just evaded everyone, hit the far post and fell nicely for the flat footed keeper.

A frustrating afternoon for the visitors but it was a really enjoyable contest played in the right spirit with two sides who were determined to play under difficult circumstances.

Alton continue league action on the road again next Saturday when they travel to Horley Town.

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