Colston Avenue is alive with expectation as Carshalton Athletic advanced into the second round of FA Trophy last Saturday, writes James Barrett-Sterling.

The Robins faced fellow Bostik Premier outfit Dorking Wanderers on Saturday and, after the pair played out a feisty 0-0 league encounter last month, another close game was settled by just one goal.

It was Carshalton captain Paris Hamilton-Downes that got it, heading home a cross on the hour mark that sparked wild celebrations both on and off the pitch.

The visitors rallied but the Robins held firm and have been rewarded with home advantage in the next round as the eventual victor of Salisbury versus Braintree Town will visit Surrey.

“I feel like we deserved that win, we always play well against Dorking but they always seem to nick results against us,” said Hamilton-Downes after the game.

“It’s always a good battle though and both games against them have been really tight. It could’ve gone either way on Saturday but I was really happy to score and, more importantly, help the team win and get into the next round.”

The match was played in appalling weather throughout and Carshalton weathered a first-half Dorking storm with goalkeeper Patrick Ohman making several good saves.

But the Robins came out strong after the break and, after Jordan Cheadle headed a corner against the Wands’ crossbar on 60 minutes, player/manager Peter Adeniyi returned the ball with interest and Hamilton-Downes plundered his first goal of the season from four yards.

“The ball hit the bar and I thought Peter was going to shoot, but he got it back in and I was in the right place at the right time,” added Hamilton-Downes, whom dedicated the goal to injured teammate Ricky Korboa who suffered a broken collarbone during the league encounter in November.

And the latest draw has given Carshalton a fourth straight FA Trophy tie at home meaning their visit to Met Police in the first qualifying round is still the only travelling undertaken in the competition.

The Robins are now beginning a busy Christmas period having only lost two of their last 15 matches, but three out of their next four games are away from home including a Boxing Day encounter with Leatherhead.

But first up Carshalton travel to Wingate and Finchley for a league match that kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 22nd December.