Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 18th February 2017
Match Report: Cameron Smith
On a mild Saturday afternoon in Kent, the efficient Faversham Town grabbed three points in a 3-0 victory versus an unfortunate Corinthian Casuals side at Salters Lane.
Following Wednesday’s terrific performance in Guernsey, Casuals jumped on the coach for a 67 mile trip to Faversham in attempt to boost their standing in the table, which delegated them in the all-important play-offs. Salters Lane (also known as the Shepherd Neame Stadium) had been an enjoyable journey for Corinthians last season as Jamie Byatt’s sublime lob on his return to Casuals sealed a 2-1 win. The last encounter between Faversham and Casuals was in October 2016 when both teams were unable to break the deadlock in a 0-0 stalemate. Hoping to defeat Casuals for the first time in five meetings, the Lilywhites were comfortably positioned in mid-table.
Corinth boss James Bracken left new recruit Dan Summers upfront alongside Shaun Okojie, perhaps hoping a deadly partnership would ensue. Suspended Jack Strange was replaced by Terry Murray at centre-back as well as Warren Morgan returning to right-back. Benched, Jordan Clarke sat out ahead of Mahrez Bettache, who returned from injury.
The white shirts of Faversham swarmed the chocolate and pink Casuals players from the off and were rewarded for their early dominance in the fourth minute. Whites’ no.4 Daniel Carrington burst into the area before unselfishly feeding his team-mate on the left flank. The winger whipped a low cross into the area but his assist was intervened by the sliding tackle of Terry Murray. With the rebound falling at the feet of Carrington, Faversham were 1-0 up thanks to their masterful midfielder, who oozed confidence when slotting home. The rest of the first-half was a cluster of half-chances for the hosts as Casuals struggled to get a grip on the game. A scuffed effort from Bettache was the away side’s only opportunity whilst Faversham had multiple efforts that were either high or wide of the goal.
When Corinth returned to the pitch for the second-half, they had a sense of urgency and creativity that was lacking in the first 45. Coskun Eskim and Dave Hodges continued their strong performances, and when Josh Uzun was substituted on, Casuals looked likely to grab an equaliser. Their golden opportunity arrived when Summers’ free-kick was blocked before being regenerated by Warren Morgan on the wing. The energetic full-back chipped the ball across goal for Okojie at the back post but somehow the striker’s acrobatic volley evaded the goal. Another chance was not converted when no.8 Mu Maan fired a powerful effort a few yards over the bar in an agonising period of missed opportunities.
Casuals would rue these chances as a goal-kick from keeper William Goodman set up Luke Harvey to glance into the far corner with a terrific header. Appeals for a foul on Danny Dudley were waved away and Faversham scored another to make it 2-0 in the 74th minute. Ten minutes later, the Whites flattened any chance of a Corinth comeback when Jordan Casey hammered a free-kick past the wall and into the top corner; Danny Bracken was helpless as he could only watch the ball fly in. Faversham couldn’t make it four despite a few half-chances as the final whistle blew- it was 3-0 to the hosts.
An inspired start to the second-half, there were a few spells in the game where Casuals thrived but overall, it was a well-deserved victory for Faversham Town, who still sit in eleventh place. Corinth have their third consecutive away journey next week as Horsham await James Bracken and the team. Will Casuals be able to pick themselves up and return to winning ways?