Alex Kelly’s second-half strike proved the difference for Walton Casuals in an uninspiring encounter at a boggy Faversham Town.
His 66th-minute effort marked the Casuals’ first major opportunity of the second half, and robust defending saw out the game – with the help of a goal-line clearance from left-back Dominic Ogun.
An unchanged XI from the side that beat Guernsey last weekend started the game in identical fashion – with an early penalty miss after six minutes.
Youssef Bamba, who converted the second spot kick in the Channel Islands, stepped up again, but an unorthodox run-up and a poor strike was easily parried by Town goalkeeper Simon Overland.
The game lacked chances for both sides, although Max Hustwick was unfortunate to not find someone with his low driven pass across the box after a short corner.
Faversham’s Luke Griffiths had fans celebrating after chipping his effort over Denzel Gerrar – although his strike beat both the goalkeeper and the crossbar to go out for a goal kick.
With the Stags’ well-rehearsed corner routines coming into practice, Hustwick came close again for the visitors. He was found free at the back post but watched his header scrape wide of the post.
Little separated the two clubs in the first half, and the same could be said upon the restart. A well-timed header from Harry Mills prevented a golden opportunity for Town, with danger man Griffiths ready to pounce in behind.
As expected, the pitch was struggling with the cold December conditions, and any chance of a game fuelled with passes simply wouldn’t be possible. Anthony Gale opted to test the hosts instead with counter-attacking football, and Bamba came close with his 12-yard effort scuffed wide.
The introduction of Tyrell Richardson-Brown after a six-week absence through injury provided a further boost of pace, and the moves soon paid off with Alex Kelly finishing a well-worked manoeuvre with Lartey Sarpong and Sean McCormack.
Faversham were forced to attack in the hunt for a point and came close with Harry Stannard’s surge through the Casuals defence. He was unable to produce an end product, alongside Griffiths in the following attack.
McCormack had threatened down the left wing throughout the game and Daniel Carrington struggled to keep up with his man. With 20 minutes to go, he broke once again out wide and drew a late foul for which George Batney – who may have seen red on another day.
Town continued to struggle with the pace of Walton’s attacking three, who always looked one step ahead in the closing stages. And the game should have been over within 15 minutes remaining when McCormack’s cross found Sonny Black perfectly – only to be headed against the post from four yards.
A late rush from Town forced Ogun into a goal-line clearance, but a consistent performance ensured the Casuals took the three points and a clean sheet back to Surrey.