Ryman League Division One South
Wednesday 13th August 2014
By Darren Pasley
Casuals put their opening day disappointment behind them as they produced a clinical performance away at Worthing on Wednesday evening.
Our hosts with a reputation as one of the best footballing sides in the division came into the match on the back of a late defeat away to Faversham Town on Saturday.
Casuals made two changes to the starting line up with Lee Hall replacing Niall Wright, whilst Carl Wilson Dennis started with Ellis Wilson-Joseph dropping to the bench
The home side started comfortably knocking the ball about with ease and for the first of many times Danny Bracken was called into action t o make a stunning double save as both McCready and Dawes were denied in quick succession. McCready looking dangerous was foiled by Bracken again after a quarter of an hour when after bringing the ball down superbly in the box his effort was palmed clear and more importantly away from the onrushing Bugiel. Casuals took the lead with their first meaningful attempt on goal in the 17th minute. After the home side failed to clear the ball Lee Hall making his debut showed good strength and composure to play in Byatt down the left hand channel and his cross was expertly flicked home first time by Dave Hodges. Within moments the same player nearly doubled the lead but this time his half volley flew just wide
Danny Dudley was next to go close but he side-footed wide of a gaping goal from 7 yards after Byatt’s corner fell unexpectedly into his path. Casuals continued to fashion out the clear cut chances with Byatt agonizingly close to opening his account for the season when he headed Spencer’s right wing cross down into the ground and off the crossbar. Despite the chances the home side went close again and Bracken flew down low brilliantly to his right to keep out an Omar Bugiel effort to ensure the scores were level going into the break.
As expected the hosts flew at their opponents after the break and Dawes was next to be denied by the flying Bracken, this time palming over the wingers effort from the angle of the box. Just as it seemed a long night could be on the cards Casuals doubled their lead. After receiving the ball from his keeper left back Will Hendon stood on the ball just outside the box and Juevan Spencer drove into the box and after rounding Jack Fagan in the home goal slotted home from the tightest of angles. The young home side were shell-shocked with the visitors seizing a firm grip on the game. It got better for the travelling contingent on 62 minutes when Jamie Byatt hit a stunning volley despite being at full stretch which flew past the helpless Fagan. Such was the technique it resembled Mark Hughes famous last-ditch effort for Man United vs. Oldham in an FA cup semi final 20 years ago. Manager Matt Howard immediately rang the changes giving the inspirational Byatt a rest. For all their efforts the home side finally beat Danny Bracken with 18 minutes remaining. Substitute Curtis Gaylor driving home from just inside the edge of the box when the ball fell kindly. The tempo suddenly increased as the home side found their rhythm. Trevor McCreadie went desperately close on 75 minutes when he volleyed a high ball into the box against the bar before heading the rebound over. Moments later Gayler fired just wide of Brackens right hand post but Casuals stood firm and apart from a final effort from McCreadie going just past the post they were troubled no further.
Speaking after the match Matt Howard commented
“It’s always hard to approach a match after losing your first game. Naturally, you’re a little bit nervous as you want to get points on the board as soon as possible. So to get that first win is a massive relief. Tonight's win is very, very pleasing in that respect and some great goals to boot.
“Danny Bracken was outstanding, but to be fair, he always is. But credit to all of them, they all kept their shape well against a team that are probably going to be the best footballing side we’ll play in this league all year. They move the ball around brilliantly. So, we had to be patient, keep our shape, our discipline and keep it in front of us at all times, which we did.
“It was very similar to last year when we came down to Woodside Road and we won 1-0, even though we got battered for ninety minutes, but again, we kept our shape and discipline and this year we had an end product to us.”