Ryman League Division One South
Monday 5th December 2016
Match report and pics: Stuart Tree
A spirited second half comeback from Corinthian-Casuals coupled with two red cards for Carshalton ensured James Bracken’s side came away from Colston Avenue with all three points.
Trailing at half time to a Tommy Bradford penalty, goals from Josh Uzun, Shaun Okojie and Jamie Byatt capped a terrific turnaround granting Corinth their fifth straight league win.
Since Carshalton Athletic joined the Ryman South three seasons ago, Casuals have had the better of results against their close neighbours, now winning five of the last six encounters. The only blip was the 1-1 draw back on New Year’s Day, when Okojie levelled late to grab a point.
Bookies put Casuals 3/1 outsiders going into Monday night and Carshalton, accustomed to their 3G pitch, were rightly favourites. The Robins sat one place above their opponents in 4th having lost just once at home all season. Popular playmaker Sekou Kaba was the only familiar face to Casuals fans in the Robins line-up since his move from King George’s in the summer.
The hosts started the brighter of the teams and zipped the ball about with confidence putting Casuals on the back foot. On 18 minutes, the deadlock was broken; Kaba was fouled in the box by keeper Danny Bracken and Tommy Bradford slammed home the resulting spot kick to give the home side a deserved lead. They could’ve made it two when Player/Manager Peter Adeniyi’s rocket shot was miraculously fingertipped onto the bar by Bracken. The rebound fell kindly to Kaba and with the goalmouth gaping, somehow fired high into the misty sky.
Casuals rarely threatened with the exception of Okojie who did well to test Kozakis in the Carshalton goal albeit with relative comfort. The lead at half time was deserved, and whilst the brass band played on, Casuals were plotting their comeback… and how!
The turnaround began when Kaba was dismissed for a foul in the area following a free kick. With a missed open goal, conceding a penalty and seeing red, it’s safe to say that the Frenchman has had better nights. His actions led to the away contingent behind the goal chanting “he’s a Casual.” On this performance, perhaps he still is! Ryman League player of the week-elect, Josh Uzun struck home his penalty and the game was for the taking.
If Shaun Okojie’s dragged shot wide of the post was a surprise, the way he dispatched the ball into the net a minute later certainly wasn’t. A fine cross from the byline by Maz Bettache found the big striker whose touch was so crisp, it left Kozakis in goal with no chance of stopping it.
Things went from bad to worse for the Robins as Jordan Hibbert was shown a red card for an awful challenge on Kevant Serbony, leading to the midfielder having to be stretchered off. His injury looking to keep him out for a while.
Down to nine men, the game was effectively over. To ensure no surprise comeback was on the cards, substitute Jamie Byatt lashed home a rasping shot beating Kozakis at his near post to send Casuals fans into rapture and many of the home supporters heading for the exit.
The win keeps Casuals in 5th, one place and one point below Carshalton but with a game in hand. Casuals face an equally tough trip to Hastings United on Saturday.
After the match, James Bracken spoke to Darren Pasley,
“Carshalton started off very well. The first fifteen to twenty minutes from them was as good a performance as I’ve seen from a Ryman South side. They started off playing good football and have developed a style that suits their 3G surface. Whether it works on a boggy pitch at Ramsgate or Faversham is to be seen but they’re up there for a reason, doing well and on that performance you can see why.
“They got their noses in front from the penalty which it was… I have no qualms about that. But after that, they seemed to stop doing what they were doing so well and we got back into the game.
“At half time, I said to the lads, next fifteen minutes, stay in it and we’ll get chances. We stayed in it and chances came. Yes – their sending offs ultimately helped towards the end but we were in that game at 11 versus 11. They’ve not scored a goal in open play against us and we’ve equalised in the same circumstances as how they’ve scored.
“It’d been easy to get irate about one or two tackles. I felt we got no decisions go our way in the first half and were getting a rough rub of the green. Second half, I wouldn’t say we were lucky but the referee has given what he saw. I don’t think there can be any complaints about the red cards that were given. We’ve done enough to win at a tough place to come and that’s all I can ask.
“Kevant’s injury is bad. He’ll attend hospital and I’ll probably end up spending half the night with him. It was a bad tackle. There was one or two out there tonight. A zippy night on this type of surface can make for fast collisions. Fingers crossed, the injury is no more than a bad sprain.
“We’ve got tough tests all the way until January now. I’ve set us a mini target for the next ten games. We’ve now won two of them. If we can win six out of the ten I’ve earmarked, we’ll still be in the playoff places. Hopefully, we’ll have a run of slightly easier games and mop up the points on those. But every game is tough… I can’t recall turning up to any game and rolling over the opposition.”