Having played two games in midweek, Balham played their third match in just five days on Saturday, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Camberley Town at the Wibbandune.
The hosts went into the game just two points away from sixth-placed Camberley in the league table, but with five games in hand. A win would therefore be very important for both sides, but neither side began the first half in particularly impressive fashion. The ball spent most of the opening 15 minutes in the air, meaning that the action was limited to aerial challenges.
There were some chances in the first half, though, and both sides could have scored. Camberley’s goalkeeper Adam Desbois proved his worth in the first half, making an excellent save down low from Ibz Olutade in the first 10 minutes and an acrobatic stop from a Luke Fenlon effort just before half time. The visitors also caused some problems – forward Marcus Cousins came closest, beating Balham keeper Haydn Read to a long ball but lobbing wide.
The start of the second half showed an improved Balham performance. Within the first quarter hour of the half, there were a number of chances to break the deadlock. James Adebayo was at the centre of Balham’s attacking play – he found himself on the end of a cross by Arsen Ujkaj which he failed to make contact with, and would soon force two more saves out of the Camberley goalkeeper.
However, the lack of a final product would come back to bite Balham. Camberley took the lead with their first real chance of the half, a low cross being converted by Cousins. The goal came against the run of play, but the fatigued Balham did not respond well to the setback. From then on, the away team were relatively comfortable, and the only Balham threat came in the form of long range efforts from Arsen Ujkaj and substitute Anis Nuur.
In the end, Camberley were able to secure the three points, scoring a second goal in the 82nd minute, Cousins once again the scorer after being set up by Adam Francis.
It was a disappointing result for Balham, who were not at their best, but still should not have capitulated as they did. The result means that Camberley have a five point advantage over Balham, but with five games in hand, Balham can still hope of catching both Camberley and fifth-placed Redhill.
Team: Read H, Frew, Erriu, Henry(capt), Fenlon, Gallagher, David, Savage, Ujkaj A, Adebayo, Olutade
Subs: Nuur, Aguilera J, Ukaj Ad, Neish